Having competed in back-to-back Premier League campaigns for the first time last season, Crystal Palace look to be heading in the right direction having surprised fans and pundits alike to finish 10th in the table.
After Tony Pulis walked out in pre-season to be replaced by Neil Warnock, who was in turn sacked following a poor start to the campaign, Palace fans feared the worst and relegation loomed large. Alan Pardew’s subsequent appointment initially sparked an upturn in fortunes and the Eagles were flying high after Christmas, though their form began to plateau once they had beaten the drop.
Whether or not Palace can better their top-half finish of last term remains to be seen, though most bookies remain skeptical. Successfully battling relegation will once again be the primary objective for Pardew and the betting suggests that Palace should be capable of retaining their Premier League status.
Palace eased past non-league Dover Athletic in last year’s FA Cup before out-scoring Southampton in a thrilling 2-3 Fourth Round victory, but were knocked out in the following round after a 1-2 defeat at the hands of Liverpool. They beat Walsall 0-3 in the League Cup 2nd Round, but were knocked out after extra-time in the 3rd Round by Newcastle United. Crystal Palace fans hoping for a better cup run this season can get some excellent odds when backing their side for glory.
The season begins with a trip to newly promoted Norwich City, with Arsenal visiting the following week. A tricky start continues with trips to Chelsea and Tottenham along with the visit of Man City inside the first six games, Man Utd then come to town on Halloween before the Eagles head to Anfield to face Liverpool a game later. The festive period looks relatively kind on paper, though the first game of 2016 is at home to Chelsea and a trip to Man City follows shortly after in January. The 10 game run-in begins with Liverpool(H) and Manchester United(A), though apart from Arsenal (A) the final few fixtures don’t look too bad and the season ends with a trip to Southampton.
Manager – Alan Pardew
Goalkeepers – Julián Speroni, Wayne Hennessey, Alex McCarthy
Defenders – Joel Ward, Adrian Mariappa, Brede Hangeland, Paddy McCarthy, Scott Dann, Zeki Fryers, Damien Delaney, Martin Kelly, Pape Souaré, Jack Hunt
Midfielders – Yannick Bolasie, Adlène Guedioura, Wilfried Zaha, Mile Jedinak(c), James McArthur, Johnny Williams, Jordon Mutch, Lee Chung-yong, Joe Ledley, Jason Puncheon, Yohann Cabaye
Forwards – Fraizer Campbell, Dwight Gayle, Marouane Chamakh, Kwesi Appiah, Patrick Bamford, Connor Wickham
Alan Pardew has wasted little time putting his stamp on the Crystal Palace squad to take the shackles of his players, in direct contrast to the defensive tactics which Tony Pulis and Neil Warnock used to make Palace hard to beat. The Eagles are now much easier on the eye and have been involved in a number of high-scoring games, only time will tell if such an approach can prove successful in the long-term, but it’s sure to be welcomed by the Sehurst Park faithful wo were deprived of goals last season, as the stats below reflect.
Crystal Palace Top Scorers In 2014/15 (All Comps)
Dwight Gayle – 10
Glenn Murray – 7
Jason Puncheon – 6
Fraizer Campbell – 5
Mile Jedinak – 5