Crystal Palace are on the back of a strange last season. In the first half of the season, they looked invincible while in the second, it looked like even a Sunday League side could beat the Eagles. It’s still a bit surprising to believe that at one point, Crystal Palace were in the running for a top-four finish and then they were almost dragged into the relegation scrap. It was a typical Alan Pardew-esque season from the South Londoners.
Pardew showed plenty or promise when he took charge of the Eagles in January 2015 leading them to a top-half finish in just a few months. He started the last season from exactly where he left off in the previous one but lost the momentum since the turn of the New Year.
Preparing to bounce back positively to FA Cup final heartbreak in May, the Selhurst Park faithful will hope for an improved league campaign under club legend Pardew, who committed his future to the club signing a new contract this summer.
Andros Townsend – Newcastle United, £13m
Steve Mandanda – Marseille, free
James Tomkins – West Ham, £10m
Dwight Gayle – Newcastle United, £10m
Alex McCarthy – Southampton, £4m
David Gregory – Cambridge, free
Chris Kettings – Oldham, free
Jake Gray – Luton, free
Emmanuel Adebayor – released
Marouane Chamakh – released
Brede Hangeland – released
Adrian Mariappa – released
Reise Allassani – released
Christian Scales – released
Connor Dymond – released
Jerome Binnom-Williams – Peterborough, undisclosed
Fees courtesy- Sky Sports
How have Crystal Palace fared in the transfer market?
During the second half of the last season, Crystal Palace suffered a major crisis in defence and the last man of the Eagles’ defence Wayne Hennessey failed to bail out his defenders when called upon. Pardew has made a major upgrade in the goalkeeping department with the signing of Steve Mandanda who is an accomplished world-class keeper rich with top-level experience.
Andros Townsend was another solid addition to the club. Crystal Palace have plenty of options in the wide areas but Townsend trumps every Crystal Palace winger in terms of an end product. Crystal Palace also needed a solid partner in defence for Scott Dann but we are a bit sceptical about the fact that James Tomkins is that good enough or not. Another solid deal from Crystal Palace was to get as much as £10m for a player like Dwight Gayle who has failed to impress in the Premier League over the years on a consistent basis.
Pardew has to make sure that he can bring a quality centre-forward to spearhead the attack during the remainder of the transfer window or else he will have to regret for it later.
Possible Tactics and starting XI
Alan Pardew played in 3 different formations last season- 4-2-3-1, 4-3-3 and 4-4-2. The most effective among the three was 4-2-3-1 and the Eagles are likely to stick to it next season. Mandanda should be the first-choice keeper ahead of Hennessey and Speroni. The best possible back four will be Ward, Dann, Tomkins and Souare.
Palace have plenty of options to choose from in central midfield. Cabaye is an assured starter while the other midfield position will be contended among McArthur, Ledley, Jedinak and Mutch. In the number ten role, Crystal Palace have Jason Puncheon and Jon Williams, the latter will be keen to impress for his boyhood club after an impressive Euro campaign.
For the two wide positions, Crystal Palace have four players in the form of Townsend, Zaha, Puncheon and Bolasie although the latter moving to Everton looks on the cards. As things stand, Wickham remains the first-choice forward ahead of Campbell and Appiah but the Eagles need a better striker than 23-year-old.
Crystal Palace still looks like an incomplete team and it’s hard to predict anything right now until they finally shape up the squad before the transfer window slams shut. As things stand, Crystal Palace should not hope for a top-half finish. Although a few quality additions can make them realistic candidates for a top-eight finish if the likes of Cabaye, Townsend, Dann, Mandanda, Ward do not disappoint.