Eberechi Eze (mid) QPR; Nathan Ferguson (def) WBA; Jaroslaw Jach (def) Rakow – end of loan; Connor Wickham (att) Sheffield Wednesday – end of loan;
Cenk Tosun (sp) (att) Everton – end of loan; Stephen Henderson (gk) released; Ryan Inniss (def) released;
Palace survived last season thanks to some very solid defending, while the forward actions remained very disappointing. The Eagles earned lots of points against top teams thanks to their ability to soak up pressure, but probably vital for the positive outcome was the run of 5 consecutive 1:0 wins recorded on each side of the COVID-break.
It was the vast experience of the league’s oldest manager Roy Hodgson that helped a lot, but even he couldn’t find a way to inspire more fruitful forward actions.
So far, the off-season has been quiet with the only 2 newcomers coming from Championship sides and seen more as investment for the future than anything. Nobody important has left the club either, although Zaha wants out and, if somebody agrees to pay big money for him, he could be on the move soon.
Coach Hodgson will likely use conservative 4-1-4-1 shape in most games, with Benteke and Ayew set to rotate as leaders of the attack up front. Palace also trusted 4-3-3 formation in some matches when they searched for extra threat down the flanks, so this is the alternative formation for them. What seems certain is that captain Milivojevic and goalkeeper Guaita will once again be having key roles.
The team’s main strength is their ruthless defending, while the big weakness are the ineffective forward actions.
Crystal Palace want to stay out of trouble, but it’s hard to see the team finishing outside the bottom 8 positions. The big question being on which side of the dreaded relegation line the Eagles will find themselves.