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Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace’s August-September Progress Report

Queens Park Rangers (QPR) manager Neil W

Crystal Palace set foot into the 2014/15 season shrouded in doubts and controversy. Half way through last season Palace were rooted at the bottom of the table, but the introduction of Tony Pulis with a new, rigid style of play saw a five-match winning streak in April that secured Premier League football for Palace this season. However, as quickly as it looked like The Eagles fate was turning for the better, Pulis fell out with the club management and left the club without a man at the helm just a couple of days before the season started.

Truly, times looked troubling for the Londoners. The reappearance of Neil Warnock is hardly seen as a progressive stride akin to those made earlier in the year, and the lack of transfer funds available to the club has left a certain gloom over Selhurst Park in recent weeks.

The summer was mainly characterised by loans and free moves for Palace, and this has made their dealings somewhat underwhelming. Kevin Doyle, Fraizer Campbell and Brede Hangeland are all flirting with the standard necessary for Premier League survival, but are far from guarantors of safety. However, a loan move for Wilfried Zaha, who looks to be rediscovering some form, alongside moves for Martin Kelly and James McArthur are positive steps, despite a restricted budget. But despite some positive moves and departing players not meeting the standard, their summer must be categorized as a relative failure.

However, on the pitch, things appear a little better. An encouraging opening day performance against Arsenal has been followed by two draws and a fantastic win away to Everton, giving the South Londoners five points from their first 5 games. Now out of the relegation zone and with a kind run of fixtures coming up, Palace can go into these games with hope and an almost fully fit squad.

Much of Palace’s play rests on the shoulders of captain and Australian international Mile Jedinak. Often seen as a simple ‘destroyer’ in midfield, Jedinak has steadily increased his contributions more and more in forward positions during his Palace career and his partnership with McArthur will be a force to be reckoned with among the smaller Premier League clubs. If Zaha can rediscover some of the form that secured his transfer away from Selhurst, Palace may not face the poor season many predicted at the end of the transfer window.

There are, of course, still worries that will lurk in the minds of Palace fans. Warnock is a temperamental and sometimes confusing character, able to create tension in a dressing room and board room alike. The squad is also rather thin, whilst capable players have been brought in, it would only take a few injuries for the cracks to appear beneath the paper. The situation has improved, but remains extremely precarious. One feels that the walls could come crashing down on Palace rather quickly, be it through more boardroom trouble or a rough patch on the field.

Best XI

Speroni

Kelly, Dann, Delaney, Ward,

Jedinak, McArthur

Zaha, Chamakh, Bolasie

Campbell.

Season rating so far: 2.5 out of 5.

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