It’s Crystal Palace’s turn to have their squad go under the microscope, here is my analysis of what I believe to be their best XI!
Speroni is a walkup starter for Palace, however considering that Pardew managed just 2 clean sheets after taking over there may be a reason he is priced at 4.5. Pre-season has shown no signs of them tightening up either!
There are 2 certainties in Palace’s defence. Ward and Dann were regulars under Pardew, so expect to see more of the same next season. Souare and Kelly will fight it out for the other wing back role, Ward’s versatility means that he can play either side depending on who Pardew selects. Delaney and Hangeland will fight it out for the centre back role, to be honest Ward is the only relevant Palace defender anyway.
Jedinak should hold the defensive midfield slot, McArthur will push him though. Cabaye is a no brainer for the central midfield role, he will control the tempo and is a safe option at 6.5. I’m sure we’ll discuss his prospects in depth later on. Puncheon thrived playing in behind the striker last season and should start there again this year. I can’t see Cabaye playing the number 10 role.
Bolasie made the left wing his own after Pardew’s arrival, perhaps more importantly Zaha also nailed down a place on the right. All 3 of Palace’s attacking midfielders are priced nicely, whether they can take the next step is another question. It should be noted that Bolasie also started up front on a few occasions as Pardew experimented with his squad, if that becomes more permanent he becomes a no brainer. His end product still needs work though…
I’m not confident over the striker position. Many had hoped Gayle could take the next step last season, but it was Murray who came back into the frame under Pardew’s management. The Eagles have now signed Chelsea talent Bamford. He has scored goals everywhere he has played, notching 17 in the Championship last season. Bolasie even started up front towards the end of last season! It’s tough to pick who will start, I can see rotation being the order of the day between these 3. I expect Murray to start in GW1 at least, but long term I’m backing Bamford. Gayle is a wildcard. Bolasie could be anything if he gets the gig… Campbell finds himself down the pecking order, there’s so much competition for 1 spot!
50/50: Bolasie is a wonder when he’s in-form, however he has a way to go. His skills are unbelievable, but his finishing is appalling. Yannick finally found the score-sheet for Palace when he banged in that hat-trick, perhaps a sign of things to come? Before that however, it doesn’t make for pretty reading. He’ll need to up his goal output if he is to become good value this season, huge potential though!
Lock: None (At the moment), no matter how tempting their mid pricers are! That could change very quickly though. I have another 50/50 option. Cabaye offers serious value at 6.5 if he can reproduce the form that got him a move from Newcastle to PSG a couple of years ago. Cabaye is a safe pick, but to become a lock he’ll need to make every set-piece count. That will be his greatest source of points, if he can score often enough in open play he’ll become a no brainer.
Avoid: Bamford will get a lot of hype, but he won’t be a consistent enough starter to become fpl relevant. 6.0 is slightly pricey for a player who scored 17 goals in the Championship. If you consider that Deeney and Wilson who both bettered him (21 and 20 goals respectively) cost 5.5, it seems irrational the take the risk.
Breakout: Zaha is high on my watch list (for obvious reasons). Costing just 5.5 he is much cheaper than Bolasie, and at 22 it’s time for him to step up. Having become a regular under Pardew, his form also drastically improved. 4 goals and 3 assists isn’t a bad return considering he played under 2000 minutes, but it will need to improve even at his price. He’s a risky pick but the breakout sirens are going off!
Are any of these guys lined up for your teams? Let me know! Everton are up tomorrow, see you then.