Premier League Preview: Crystal Palace
Posted by Featured Articles | Published on August 3, 2016
Predicted league finish: 14th.
Crystal Palace avoid relegation last year by finishing 15th on 42 points. They had a wretched run of form after Christmas day, which resulted in the Eagles winning just 2 out of 21 league games. It was a very ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ season for the Palace fans, over 30 points before Christmas day and looking up the table, to looking over their shoulder come the end of the season. However, they did reach an FA cup final, which they lost 2-1 to Manchester United after going a goal in front.
Alan Pardew has acted quickly so far in this transfer window. He has signed Andros Townsend from Newcastle for £12 million. Seems smart business from the Palace manager as Townsend was a shining light for Newcastle at the end of last season. This will add to the pace the Eagles already possess with Bolaise and Zaha. Palace have also strengthened their defence with the signing of James Tomkins from West Ham. He will look to establish a strong partnership at the back with Scott Dann. In addition, Alan needs to sign a striker. With Adebayor who left at the end of last season and Wickham not being amongst the goals it is a vital area for Palace to enhance. They have been heavily linked with Benteke from Liverpool, he seems to fit the lone striker role which Palace play. He would be able to hold the ball up and lay it off to either Zaha or Bolasie. He is very strong in the air to meet crosses from the wings. Recently, they have been linked with Berahino from West Brom. It is very publically known that he is very upset at WBA, but would he fit the Palace model? At 20 million it seems a high price to pay.
What can the passionate Palace fans expect this season? It is vital that they sign a decent striker. This will give the fans an idea of where they could potentially end up. If Crystal Palace can sign Benteke they could be the surprise package of the season. They showed signs of what they could do at the start of last season. They play with pace on the counter. They beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and swept away many other teams with the quick style of play.
Crystal Palace have a solid defence which should be strengthened through the recruitment of Tomkins. In midfield they have many talented and creative individuals. They just need to put the ball in the back of the net.
Crystal Palace should not be in danger of relegation, but they will need to find a way to avoid the drop off after the Christmas period. No doubt this will bring up the conversation of a ‘winter break’ and the benefits of it. However, the Eagles will be looking for another cup run and another trip to Wembley and hopefully a better result on this occasion. There is no doubt that Crystal Palace are a very dangerous team on their day.
Yannick Bolasie: He has the pace, he has the skill. He just lacks the quality with the final ball. He needs to add more goals to his game. 5 goals was his return last season and this is not acceptable for a player of his quality. This time last season there was talk of him being transferred to Liverpool, there are no such talks currently. It will be vital for Palace that he hits the ground running. His injury hit the team hard last season so they will be looking to keep him injury free this season. He is a dangerous player but needs to prove it more consistently.
Wilfred Zaha: He has the potential and he has pace to burn. Similar to Yannick, he needs to improve his final ball and his goals return. He scored 2 goals in the Premier League last season. This will be a big season for Wilf as he is only 23 and if he can turn in consistent and quality performances, there may still be a big move left for him.
Yohan Cabaye: The quality this man possess is immense. He would not be misplaced in a Champions League team. No doubt the whole football universe was slight shocked when he joined Palace. Big credit has to go to Pardew for bringing him in. At 30 years of age, Yohan is at the peak of his career. He has a quality final ball and a superb passing range. He will need pace on the wings and a big centre forward to hold the ball up for him. The team will be built around the quality he possess. A return of 5 goals will need to be improved by the Frenchman.
THE WILD CARD.
The manager. Alan Pardew, who knows what his is going to do. He has been in charge since January 2015 and is an icon of the club. He has a win percentage of 44%. But, he was ridiculed in the FA cup final for his ‘dad dancing’. Sure if Palace won, this would have been lauded as funny, but since they lost he has been ridiculed for it. Touted as a potential England manager, there is no doubt he has the potential but he needs to kick out the controversies that leak in. He is an impulse manager. He acts on emotion. Best seen when he decided to head butt an opposition player when in charge of Newcastle and 3-1 up at the time. He is a manager that blows hot and cold with his emotions and ability. He took West Ham to 9th and an FA cup final, then was sacked the next season. He nearly took Newcastle into the Champions League, the following season they narrowly avoided relegation. He needs to ensure that he unlocks the potential in this Palace side. No doubt he will have in his mind that he has lost in the FA cup final on 3 separate occasion; once as a player, twice as a manager. He will no doubt look to put that record right this season.