Crystal Palace are splashing the cash big time this Summer, so what improvements can we expect? It’s unlikely that Pardew will alter from his preferred 4-2-3-1 system, so that’s a safe bet. Having said that, they have trialed 3 at the back in one of their pre-season contests to “Make sure their squad is flexible.” Here’s how I expect they will line-up throughout the season:
Palace have spent big in recent seasons for very little return, however there seems to be a strong belief that they can repeat last season’s early form for the majority of the season. The one area where I’m less than convinced is their defence. Sure they have signed Mandanda, but nothing else seems to have changed at the back. When you hear Palace have kept just 15 clean sheets in the last 2 seasons, you have to wonder why. If Palace’s results since Pardew’s arrival are anything to go by, we can expect another 7 or 8 clean sheets this season. In other words, not worthy of investment.
Midfield is where things start to get interesting. Cabaye is an underrated option, at 6.0 with penalty duties in his locker he’s worth taking a look at. With an overload of wingers, I expect Bolasie may play centrally this season. Whether that’s up front or more likely in behind the striker, he’s another with massive potential at 6.0. Zaha and Townsend should start on either wing, and both can be considered relevant at 5.5 and 6.5 respectively. We’ll need to start seeing more in the final third from Zaha, wingers don’t tend to be good consistent FPL scorers. Townsend is a popular option early and it’s easy to see why, he has a keen eye for goal and I see him having a good season.
There’s a reason why all the interest is in midfield at Palace, and that’s because there’s barely anything to speak about up front! Wickham hit some hot form last season and would start up top if there’s no signings. That seems highly unlikely. It’s obvious why they’re after Benteke and Berahino, if Benteke comes in GET ON BOARD. Palace will be a huge threat going forward.
Watch out for Palace, they could be this seasons big improvers.