Crystal Palace suffered from a bad case of mid-table obscurity last season. Finishing at a rather bland 14th, Crystal Palace have opted to gamble on Frank de Boer rather than updating their squad. Needless to say, Top Tiers expects Crystal Palace to survive comfortably, but not provide too many surprises.
Manager: Frank de Boer
First Team: Hennessey; Kelly, Dann, Tomkins, Ward; Cabaye, McArthur; Townsend, Puncheon, Zaha; Benteke
Crystal Palace have no issues scoring goals, being the only side apart from Bournemouth outside the top eight to score more than 50 goals last year. They have proven goalscorer Benteke up front, supported by talents Zaha and Puncheon, so the goals will continue to flow. It would be a surprise if Palace didn’t continue to be one of the most high scoring sides in the mid-table given their abundance of attacking talent.
Where they excel at attacking, Crystal Palace find themselves sorely lacking in defence. Their 63 goals conceded last season was by no means the worst in the division, but hardly stood out against the teams around them. They will need to shore up defensively in order to set themselves apart from the mid-table madness.
The appointment of Frank de Boer is interesting. One of the Netherland’s greatest defenders, he will prove a great asset in shoring up Crystal Palace’s otherwise porous defence. He comes with outstanding pedigree from Holland, having won the Erendivisie a record nine times (both as a player and a manager) and so has proven ability to build a winning team.
Also Frank de Boer. While he excelled at Ajax, he fell far short of expectations in Italy, failing to last even one hundred days at Inter. Questions remain over his ability to manage outside the Netherlands and whether he is ready for the most competitive league in Europe. As a former defender, de Boer should be able to shore up Palace’s defensive line, but hopefully not at the expense of their attacking flair.
Our conclusions, you ask? Don’t expect miracles. Palace could be a good team, but they lack the reinforcements to break into the top half of the table, and they simply aren’t as good as Bournemouth or Everton to challenge for the European places. Hopefully de Boer will keep the ship steady enough to avoid a relegation battle.
Waiting for the seasons to start? Check out Crystal Palace’s moment of safety from last season.