Header Ads

Premier League mid-table, be careful what you wish for

There may be little glamour in being a mid-table Premier League team but this season suggests that those clubs who become bored with such an existence can find the alternative is far worse.

The temptation is understandable - top six status is nearly impossible for most clubs and so where does the consistently mid-table club turn for a sense of progress, for more thrills?

Fans once pleased just to secure top-flight status do become weary of pragmatic tactics and club owners, no doubt listening to pundits lauding progressive football, turn away from the managers and methods which gained them mid-table comfort in search of a more aesthetically pleasing style of play.

The relegation battle features several clubs who have dropped from mid-table after feeling the pressure to change direction to satisfy this demand, perceived or otherwise.

Southampton sacked Claude Puel as manager after the club finished eighth in the Premier League last season and reached the League Cup final.

It was the meagre return of 17 goals from 19 home games that arguably cost Puel his job but the club's attitude was revealed when they appointed Mauricio Pellegrino as his replacement.

West Bromwich Albion had more of a case for making a change with Tony Pulis's pragmatic brand of football having stopped delivering results, with the club a point above the relegation zone in November and without a win in 10 games.

Yet even though the focus was purely on survival, his replacement Alan Pardew felt the need to offer fans the promise of something more.

No comments