Crystal Palace are back in the big league! They did it the hard way however. After losing their first 3 they went on to win 11 of their next 14 games which set up their season. They then had to deal with their gaffer Dougie Freedman quitting to join Bolton, the sale of their best player Wilfried Zaha (which was offset slightly by him staying on loan) and an injury crisis just as they’d reached the top of the table. Their end of the season was a worry, winning only 1 of 10 including some hidings, but they lifted in the play-offs when they needed to and got the job done. Under the new boss Ian Holloway they played some very attractive attacking football while they had their best team on the park, something which they will be trying to replicate in the Premier League.
Doesn’t exist. They let in more goals (62) than any promoted team for as far back as I could be bothered looking. Which was 2002/03 for the record. If you’re interested… Speroni (4.5m) will play in goal with Delaney (4.5m) and Ramage (4.0m) playing in the centre of defence with perhaps McCarthy (4.5m) slipping in, and then Ward (4.0m) and Parr (4.0m) the full backs. Blake (4.0m) and Moxey (4.0m) may take their spots respectively in the wide areas. Statistically speaking, both centre backs scored a few goals and both starting full backs had a few assists each. Move on.
The midfield is a little better… The loss of the immensely talented Zaha will hurt however. Palace’s player of the year was our own Jedinak (4.5m) but he plays a defensive role so is not fantasy relevant. Of the others Dikgacoi (4.5m), Bolasie (5.0m), Garvan (5.0m) and newbie Campana (-) are probably not going to light up the Premier League and I would consider others (but keep an eye on them!). Thomas (4.5m) has come in on a free from West Brom and has the pedigree and experience to be a good player for Palace, definitely put some thought into him. Some stats for those interested; Jedinak (3 goals and 3 assist from 44 games), Dikgacoi (4 and 4 from 42), Bolasie (3 and 8 from 45), Garvan (4 and 7 from 31) and Moritz (5 and 2 from 29).
The attack was where Palace were going to redeem themselves but the best option they had, Murray (5.5m), injured his knee and looks to be out of action for a while (maybe until Christmas). That leaves a 30 goal hole in their attack which will be difficult to fill. Talks are ongoing with Carlton Cole who was released by West Ham as well as a few others. Watch this space because the likes of Phillips (too old), Gayle (5.0m – untried), Dobbie (untried) and Wilbraham (4.5m – not good enough) are risky propositions and they need to strengthen.
I fear its going to be a long season for Palace. There’s a heap of talk of new players joining with up to another 5 potentially joining the party. Unless they get some quality in, and quickly, then I see them struggling. They’ll definitely play some good football at times but might just concede too many. Thomas’s name will be bandied about at my selection table but I would need to see him perform first before taking the plunge, there’s a lot of decent cheap midfielders available at that price. Murray, when he comes back, could be a good option but outside of those two its slim pickings.