Alan Pardew has two games to save his job as Crystal Palace manager. After six consecutive Premier League defeats Pardew is under intense pressure, but American major shareholders David Blitzer and Josh Harris have not decided to remove him yet.
Blitzer and Harris have been weighing up whether to dismiss Pardew after Palace’s dismal start to the season. They have taken just 11 points from their first 13 games, and have only beaten Middlesbrough, Stoke City and Sunderland.
While Blitzer and Harris are alarmed by Palace’s direction, Pardew has support from chairman Steve Parish. So Pardew has been given two more games, at home against Southampton this Saturday, and then away at Hull City the following Saturday, to prove that the players are still responding to him. If Palace’s losing run continues through those, to eight straight games, he will be dismissed.
Palace are currently outside of the relegation zone thanks to goal difference alone, ahead of Hull City, their next opponent but one. Two more defeats would see them drop into the bottom three.
Blitzer and Harris are also thought to have serious reservations about Pardew’s methods. Palace have habitually conceded poor goals from set pieces in recent weeks, a problem which Pardew has not been able to fix on the training ground, despite insistence that he was trying. Pardew has also not taken all of the advice from the analytics team that Blitzer and Harris have brought into the club.
Pardew still has an ally, though, in Steve Parish, Palace’s co-owner and chairman. Parish oversaw the recruitment of Pardew from Newcastle United two years ago, and improved results after Neil Warnock’s brief tenure. Pardew guided Palace from the relegation zone to finish in 10th place, their best ever Premier League finish, before taking the team to the FA Cup final at Wembley in 2016. Parish is loyal to Pardew and has pushed for him to be given time to turn the situation around.
League results, though, have been declining for some time while the harmony of the squad has been disrupted by big-money signings such as Yohan Cabaye and Christian Benteke, as well as the departures of popular players such as Mile Jedinak and Yannick Bolasie. Whether the players rally behind Pardew and perform for him against Southampton and Hull will be the crucial test.