Old guard proving their worth against wave of initial criticism

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 18 December 2017, 10:57

The 2017/18 Premier League season has witnessed the return of the managerial old guard in Sam Allardyce, Roy Hodgson, David Moyes and Alan Pardew who all returned to the dugout within the opening 15 games of the campaign, while Tony Pulis - sacked by West Brom in November - could soon be back at Stoke…

A mixture of confusion, dejection and even fury greeted each appointment, with many fans tired of the same old names getting the same old jobs in the Premier League managerial merry-go-round.

However, so far three of the four appointments have swatted away their critics - Pardew is finding his feet at West Brom - and we take this opportunity to look at the remarkable resurgence of Hodgson, Moyes and Allardyce.

Roy Hodgson (Crystal Palace)

One of the results of the weekend came at the King Power Stadium where a previously travel-shy Crystal Palace destroyed a previously in-form Leicester City 3-0.

To put that win into perspective Claude Puel’s Leicester were enjoying a four game winning run, which included a midweek 4-1 demolition of his former employers Southampton. Meanwhile, Palace were without an away win, or even an away goal, all season having picked up just two points from a possible 24 on their travels.

What followed was one of the surprise performances of the season as Palace ruthlessly ripped the perplexed Foxes to shreds, meaning Hodgson - a thoroughly underwhelming appointment in September - is now unbeaten in seven matches.

The Eagles have subsequently soared up to 14th, two points clear of the relegation zone, and they will fancy their chances of increasing the gap away to struggling Swansea on Saturday.

David Moyes (West Ham)

The reception to Crystal Palace’s appointment of Hodgson may have been lukewarm (at best) and that’s being overly kind, but that was nothing compared to the backlash to West Ham’s choice of David Moyes as their new gaffer.

Many of the Hammers faithful were aghast at the appointment of “Moyesy” who arrived at the London Stadium in November on the back of three sorry spells at Man Utd, Real Sociedad and most recently Sunderland, with whom he took down to the Championship last season.

The general opinion soured further after Moyes failed to win any of his opening four games, losing three, including a shattering 4-0 defeat at former club Everton. However, since narrowly losing 2-1 away to Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering Man City, Moyes’ men have significantly raised their game, accumulating seven points from three games.

First up was a triumph over defending champions Chelsea, then a draw with Arsenal, followed by a 3-0 pummelling of sorry Stoke which piled the pressure on Potters boss Mark Hughes. Moyes will also be pleased with three consecutive clean sheets, something none of his teams had achieved since 2014, as his troops moved up to 15th.

Next up for the Irons is a tasty quarter-final clash against Arsenal, which is followed by a few very winnable league games against Newcastle, Bournemouth, and West Brom.

Sam Allardyce (Everton)

Six months after announcing his retirement from football management Sam Allardyce returned to the dugout with Everton last month.

The Toffees unrealistically wanted Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone, while they hit a brick wall when attempting to poach Marco Silva from Watford, meaning it was Big Sam who was eventually announced as their new boss, six weeks after sacking Ronald Koeman.

Allardyce’s presence in the stands inspired his new side to a 4-0 hammering over his old side West Ham. Under the veteran boss a vastly improved Everton have gone on to win three and draw one of their four games, collecting seven points in the league, which has propelled the Merseyside outfit into the top-10.

If Everton avoid defeat tonight at home to rock-bottom Swansea then they will jump above Watford into 9th, remarkable considering that the Hornets were nine points better off a few weeks ago. A win would put Everton just six points behind Tottenham, and within nine points off the top-4...they're a 200/1 shot for a Champions League place for those interested...


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