2015/16 Premier League team preview: Crystal Palace

Palace

Dave Clark Five’s “Glad All Over” is a tune that regularly blurs out from the tannoy system at Selhurst Park. But the song synonymous with Crystal Palace has never been quite as relevant on the cusp of the 2015-16 season, with the club’s supporters itching to get started.

Alan Pardew oversaw a fine end to the previous campaign, steering the Eagles to an encouraging mid-table finish. But the shrewd work done in the transfer market this summer by the former Newcastle United boss has really stoked the flames of anticipation ahead of the big kick off, with the capture of Yohan Cabaye arguably the most significant deal in the club’s history.

There’s already an encouraging set-up in place too. Scott Dann was rock solid at the back last term, while James McArthur and Mile Jedinak knit things together wonderfully in the middle of the park. In addition, the effervescent attacking qualities of Jason Puncheon, Wilfried Zaha and Yannick Bolasie make Palace one of the most entertaining sides in the division.

After a full pre-season working with his players, Pardew will have a more comprehensive understanding of the squad he has inherited and how best to utilize the personnel in situ. Now it’s time for this group of players to deliver on burgeoning expectations.

 

Best XI

Palace

 

Reasons to be Positive

The style in which the team finished last season was extremely encouraging. Pardew got a tune out of Glen Murray at the sharp end of the pitch and complemented by the talents of Puncheon and Bolasie, the burly striker was able to rediscover his goalscoring touch. Palace’s 3-1 demolition of Liverpool at Anfield in the penultimate game of the season was a tantalizing indication of what could potentially follow in 2015-16.

Cabaye’s acquisition will make Palace a lot more adaptable, too. The Frenchman’s incisive passing will be a wonderful foil for the other direct attacking talents in the team, meaning the Eagles won’t be quite as reliant on their counter-attacking prowess. Dann’s decision to extend his stay at the club is also an understated but major boost to the team.

SEE MORE: Why Crystal Palace are the team to watch out for in the 2015/16 season.

 

Reasons to be Negative

There’s no inbetween when it comes to Pardew’s teams, as his time at Newcastle was full with massive highs and desperate lows. Even Pardew’s brief stint at Palace so far has followed that kind of pattern, with four consecutive wins from March backed up by a quartet of back-to-back losses.

If the Eagles are to better their 10th place finish from last season, the team needs to be forged on sturdier foundations and must show more consistency. But with little quality defensive cover, that’ll be extremely difficult should one of Dann or Damien Delaney pick up an injury.

 

Key Player – Yohan Cabaye

Cabaye

Luring Cabaye from Paris to south London represents a remarkable coup on the part of Pardew. During his spell at Newcastle, the French international grew into one of the most talented midfield players in the Premier League and his cultured midfield play gives Palace an injection of major quality in central areas.

Although capable of playing a more withdrawn role, Cabaye was at his best for Newcastle when given license to drift forward and affect the game in advanced areas. With a potential defensive midfield duo of Jedinak and McArthur behind him, the Frenchman should have the freedom to turn games for Palace. The ex-Paris Saint-Germain star seems destined to become a fan favorite at Selhurst Park.

 

Insight from World Soccer Talk Senior Writer Kartik Krishnaiyer

Alan Pardew’s return to London was hugely successful last season. After abandoning Newcastle right in the middle of the festive period for a club he was once a popular playing figure for, many weren’t sure what to think. But Pardew got this club playing with a sense of purpose and the results followed. After being a perennial yoyo club with a financial implosion once every few seasons, Palace finally looks like a steady and ambitious top flight club.

No statement in that regard is bigger than the signing of Yohan Cabaye from PSG. The classy French midfielder will rekindle his successful partnership with Pardew without the circus and critical lens that often accompanies soccer in the Northeast of England. The addition of Patrick Bamford on loan from Chelsea should continue to help build this squad in Pardew preferred playing style. Yannick Bolasie was one of the revelations of last season in the league and expect him to contribute mightily again.

Palace’s future looks brighter than ever.

Prediction – 9th

With Pardew at the helm and some astute signings made, Palace will better their 10th place finish of last season, cementing their status as a top half Premier League side.

Not only will they be a very tough proposition at their home ground—undeniably the most atmospheric stadium in the top flight—but they have the players in the squad to give sides trouble on the road too. If Dann and Delaney can stay fit, expect another enthralling campaign for the Eagles, with Cabaye reasserting himself as one of the division’s classiest operators.

 

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattJFootball

 

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One Response

  1. IU Gonzo August 3, 2015

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