Tony Pulis has done wonders for Crystal Palace this season and should be handed the Premier League Manager of the Year award without a single question asked. Joining a side at the bottom of the Premier League can be seen as one of the toughest tasks in English football in particular for a side with the lowest budget in the league and six points from safety, not only that but Crystal Palace were favourites to be relegated at the start of the season and were not even contenders to be promoted to the Premier League in 2012/13. December and January were important months in the turnaround of Crystal Palace's season as they picked up 16 points from the ten games during that period; in those two months Tony Pulis' men ranked eighth in the Premier League, topping the form of their nearest rivals in the bottom half of the table. These two months started to shape Tony Pulis' defensive tone as the Eagles claim the title of the best defensive record in December and January with only nine goals being conceded, Crystal Palace's nearest competitors on this front were Chelsea and Newcastle United who had conceded ten. This was vastly improved from the last three months under Ian Holloway in which Crystal palace conceded 21 goals. Tony Pulis' tenure at the club led to unprecedented success at the end of March with a 1-0 win against Chelsea as it led to Crystal Palace winning five Premier League games in a row for the first time since the league started in 1992. During the five game win streak Crystal Palace kept four clean sheets with the only goals being conceded against Everton at Goddison Park in which the Eagles battled to a 3-2 win. Crystal Palace's success this season has been down to Tony Pulis' tactical genius, his counter-attacking/defensive football has worked and over the summer it will not be a surprise if the club bring in players more to suit this style of play. Pulis' first 26 games in-charge of the club has seen a small amount of possession being held week upon week but with this a improvement of defensive behaviour; Crystal Palace have averaged 43% of possession under the management of Tony Pulis leading to the claim of the most interceptions of the Premier League per game with 18.3. The Eagles also happily claim the second average amount of tackles per game behind Liverpool under Tony Pulis with 22.2. The Premier League Manager of the Year is normally awarded to a manager that has won a trophy but this season should be a sign for change, it takes a special type of manger to change the fortunes of a club that were looking to be relegated with the lowest points tally since Derby County in 2007/08 – if Crystal Palace hired Sir Alex Ferguson, Manuel Pellegrini or Brendan Rodgers, could any of them saved the club from relegation? Pulis injected energy and hope into the Crystal Palace's players when it looked like a climb up ten of the world's highest mountains just to remain in the Premier League, he made the fans believe again and he invested in players that helped the club stay up on one of the smallest budgets in the Premier League. The League Managers Association Manager of the Year award will be decided tonight.
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