Crystal Palace finally got a move on and got rid of Alan Pardew who oversaw a horror show at Selhurst Park throughout 2016. Under his stewardship, the Eagles could only muster 6 wins over 360 odd days and despite spending bucket loads of money and getting competent players, the former Newcastle United boss could not come up with anything to justify the backing he has got from the board.
Sam Allardyce, who himself has had a turbulent year, has been appointed in his place and started off with a draw against Watford. Benteke’s penalty miss proved to be costly in the end and he might have to wait a while for his first win with a match against Arsenal at the Emirates up next.
While Palace seem to have enough quality, the nature of the start will force them to make changes in different forms to mount a comeback. Let us take a look at 3 things Sam Allardyce is likely to change in order to ensure a competent finish for Crystal Palace.
MOVE TO A 4-1-4-1 FORMATION
Crystal Palace have strived to be a free-flowing team with special stress on attack, at least that is what Alan Pardew aimed to implement. While they do play some inspired attacking football at times, they have been far too feeble at the back and weak in midfield to have got any positive result out of it.
In a 4-1-4-1 formation, he can play McArthur in front of the back four with Cabaye and Puncheon in slightly more advanced midfield roles. On the flanks, they have the perfect players with Zaha and Townsend offering width and pace in abundance. With Benteke up top, the team does look a lot more balanced and capable of holding their shape while going on the attack.
BUY A CENTRAL DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER
Palace couldn’t really replace Jedinak and although they have McArthur, they can do with a defensive minded player with a bit more quality. To achieve the heights which they seem to have planned, a player in the mould of Schneiderlin can elevate the team’s overall quality. They have lacked the steel in midfield and either way they need a better central defensive midfielder.
REINFORCE THEIR FULLBACK AREAS
Crystal Palace have a shockingly low depth in the fullback region with Kelly and Ward, who are essentially right-backs and Zeki Fryers as the only left-back who is far from making the grade. The Eagles can’t possibly leave this area of the field unattended and need to strengthen in January. While a comprehensive analysis of the squad is better off being done in summer, a left-back should be on the top of the priority list for Sam.