Football Season Review

№11: Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace ended their season with a two all draw at Craven Cottage against already relegated Fulham. Young striker Dwight Gayle got both the goals. There was little at stake for the Eagles, they were already guaranteed an eleventh or twelfth place finish to the season. Having been just promoted from the Championship, via the Play Off Final, things were always going to be tough in the top flight for Palace. There was plenty of optimism before the start of the season, but a truly dreadful start to the campaign had Palace looking all but certain to go straight back down. The turning point was the departure or Ian Holloway in late October, and the subsequent appointment of Tony Pulis roughly a month later. Pulis altered the style of play completely and quite quickly made them a very tough side to break down or defeat. They would defend compactly in numbers, while still offering power and pace on the break. The brief Pulis was given was merely to keep the club in the division. Most observers felt it was a near impossible task. Considering they were safe with quite a few games to spare and managed to climb as high as eleventh, the job the former Stoke City manager performed was nothing short of a miracle. It was all achieved by team work and a willingness to leave everything on the pitch. There were no real individual stand out performers, but the likes of Kagisho Dikacoi and Mile Jedinak in midfield really stepped up to the plate, while January additions Joe Ledley and Scott Dann were also key. Upfront Marouane Chamakh looked a new player under Pulis and chipped in with some crucial goals. Next season is going to be tough for the Eagles. The squad needs a major overhaul and it remains to be seen if funds will be made available. Pulis himself seems to have offers elsewhere, although it looks as if his preference is to stay at Selhurst Park. He has two years to run on his current deal. Much will depend on how open the chequebook is over the next few months.

Player of the Season: Mile Jedinak