Crystal Palace had a slightly frustrating last season that saw Pardew’s men starting well but losing form past February. The main problems were surprisingly on home turf where Palace’s boys found it hard to score goals. This was reflected in the summer dealings of the club as three of the strikers were released. The manager has completed three signings so far, with all of Mandanda, Tomkins and Townsend potential regulars. Mandanda and Hennessey will be competing for the right to guard the goal, while Tomkins is tipped to replace Delaney as the preferred Dann partner in the heart of the defence. Palace are looking for more centre-backs as at the minute they have only three players in that position, but the regular starting places are definitely going to be distributed between those three mentioned above. Pardew will continue using 4-2-3-1 as formation and with the likes of Cabaye, McArthur, Jedinak and Ledley in the squad the options for the double-six role are plenty. It’s the same with the trio behind the lone striker where all of Townsend, Zaha, Bolasie, Sako and Puncheon are hoping to earn starting rights. Up front Wickham seems to be the player likely to start the season as a number nine, but the few times Sako was used in this position he showed promise too. Crystal Palace have the potential to secure a top half finish if their home form is much better, but they also will have to take care of their away form as last term only two of the eight clean sheets came on the road. Pardew is known for spending long hours working on set pieces and after his players scored nine goals from such situations last season this will be one of their main weapons this year too. Palace’s defenders proved to be a good source of goals and all of Ward, Dann and Delaney are very dangerous in the air, while Souare’s tireless runs down the left usually end up with inch-perfect crosses. The squad looks ready for the start of the season and with a solid few weeks of preparation in July all the players seem to be in good spirits and trusting each other on the pitch.
Crystal Palace have some interesting players in their ranks and with Pardew in charge the team’s goal is to achieve a top half finish. Enjoying a calm mid-table existence seems guaranteed.