Can Crystal Palace enjoy another successful season? Here's the lowdown on what's new at Selhurst Park...
The turnaround at Crystal Palace was one of the stories of last season. After losing nine of their first 10 matches on return to the top flight, the influence of incoming manager Tony Pulis transformed their fortunes in spectacular fashion as they were catapulted up to 11th in the table. By being well organised and taking minimum risks in their own half, Palace have become a very difficult team to play against. The question is simple. Can they repeat it?
Fraizer Campbell, who scored six goals for Cardiff last season, has been recruited to help bolster the forward line, while Brede Hangeland is expected to add to last season’s impressive defensive resolve. In the other direction Jose Campana has left and loanee Tom Ince did not sign a permanent deal. Even so, the bulk of the squad that helped perform last season’s heroics remain and Palace could well be active in the final weeks before the transfer window shuts.
Mile Jedinak was a significant figure in the heart of the Eagles midfield last season and will need to repeat his efforts if Palace are to thrive once more. His tally of 133 tackles was unsurpassed in the Premier League in 2013/14 and reflects the all-action efforts of the team’s skipper. He was the only Palace player to start all 38 matches for the club last time around and will need to remain injury-free again in 2014/15.
Is second season syndrome really a thing? Palace pessimists might be worried, although having never survived a Premier League season before this is welcome territory. So many players performed above themselves last year out of a desire to prove they were good enough and Pulis will have to retain that fighting spirit. The crowd will have a role to play, too, in continuing to embrace that underdog status. Lose that particular alchemy and things could go wrong fast.
Sky Bet Title odds – 5000/1
- Crystal Palace avoided being relegated for the first time in the PL; having suffered relegation in each of their previous four Premier League campaigns.
- Crystal Palace only conceded one set-piece goal in 26 games under Tony Pulis (excl. penalties).
- Palace players made 1409 defensive clearances last season, more than any other Premier League side.
Tony Pulis has got it all on to repeat what he did last season; he did an amazing job after taking charge at Selhurst Park. No doubt about it, Palace will be working harder than anyone in pre-season on their shape and getting themselves right defensively and it’ll be interesting to see how they do. I’m sure they’ll be safe but I don’t think they’ll go on anything like the run they did last year. Teams will know what they’re about this time around. They have fantastic fans at home, though, and that will be important for them. They’ll build their success off their form at Selhurst. Scott Dann and Brede Hangeland will add to their defensive strength.
Possible Palace XI