Strangely, a weak start by Crystal Palace seemed very much expected by all. With the newly appointed manager, not everyone’s favorite, the poor results didn’t take much time to aggravate the situation for the Dutch gaffer. However, Palace undoubtedly have one of the most balanced teams in the league that can easily challenge for the top half.
And with the exciting new signings falling into place, should slowly but surely get the momentum expected of them.
Wayne Hennessey will start under the bar. The Eagles desperately needed a new pair of hands under the bar and names like West Ham United’s Adrian and Newcastle United’s Karl Darlow had been doing rounds for some weeks before nothing materialized. Frank De Boer will have to stick with the Welshman for now and the gigantic shot stopper could be effective he gets more support from his back line.
And the recent arrival of Mamadou Sakho from Liverpool could perfectly provide that to Hennessey. The towering Frenchman was finally able to make a switch from Anfield to the Selhurst Park after months of speculations since his return from last season’s loan move. Boer would finally get a seasoned centre half who will be unshakeable in his approach and dominating physically against the top sides in the league.
Suddenly, Palace look stronger at the back having the perfect blend of youth and experience in the likes of Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Jairo Riedewald, Scott Dann and James Tomkins. Although back three might not be the preferred option for Boer in the long run in the Premier League, it definitely helps them to play their strengths.
Mensah and Riedewald on either side of Sakho could be perfect as the youngsters have the pace to make that recovery runs with Sakho providing the anchorman’s role.
No matter what the results, Crystal Palace have some very experienced and assuring players in their midfield who fetched brilliant results for Sam Allardyce last season against the strongest of sides. In the likes of James McArthur, Jason Puncheon, Yohan Cabaye, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Luka Milivojevic, Boer has the perfect balance of defence and creativity at the middle of the park.
The Dutch gaffer has failed to utilize them optimally and we expect him to learn that well with every game. The double pivot of Milivojevic and Loftus Cheek could provide the perfect balance of physical dominance and key passes with Puncheon in the attacking midfield.
Although deploying wingbacks isn’t the ideal strategy for the Eagles, in the likes of Joel Ward and Patrick van Aanholt, Palace have two suitable candidates for that role.
In Christian Benteke, Palace have one of the most clinical strikers up front, who could get good support from young Conor Wickham alongside him.