Football Season Guide

Crystal Palace


Jefferson Lerma (mid) free; Matheus França (mid) Flamengo


Jack Butland (gk) released; Wilfried Zaha (k) released; James McArthur (sp) (mid) released; Luka Milivojevic (mid) released

In their bid to avoid trouble, Crystal Palace fired coach Patrick Vieira after going 12 games without a single victory and convinced Roy Hodgson to come out of retirement and take charge of the team with 10 games to go. Their move paid dividends, as Palace looked like a completely different team under Hodgson, who led them to five wins and just two defeats. They comfortably secured safety, as they finished 11th in the table. Key forward Wilfried Zaha departed the club after his contract came to an end this summer, while Palace decided against extending the contracts of squad players Jack Butland, James McArthur and Luka Milivojevic. Meanwhile, they have signed Brazilian highly-rated wonderkid Matheus França from Flamengo to boost their attack and talented midfielder Jefferson Lerma, who joined on a free transfer. There are not expected to be many changes in Hodgson’ starting XI ahead of next season. Zaha could be replaced by Jeffrey Schlupp, who filled in on the left flank during the last stretch of the 2022/23 campaign, when the former was out injured. Lerma is expected to start in midfield alongside Cheick Doucouré, while Odsonne Édouard and Jean-Philippe Mateta will compete for the No.9 spot. Crystal Palace’s main strength lies on their home support, as only six teams recorded more losses on home soil than the Eagles, who would struggle to avoid relegation had it not been for one of the Premier League’s most hostile grounds – the Selhurst Park. Zaha’s departure doesn’t help in Hodgson’s bid to find a solution for Crystal Palace’s struggles in attack. The Eagles scored just 40 goals in 38 games last season, with forwards Édouard, Mateta and Jordan Ayew netting a combined seven league goals.


Palace should aim for a top-half finish this season. They don’t have what it takes to compete for a European spot, but they have a squad which is strong enough to comfortably secure safety.