Crystal Palace

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Season Guide
2020/2021

Crystal Palace

In


Eberechi Eze (mid) QPR; Nathan Ferguson (def) WBA; Jaroslaw Jach (def) Rakow – end of loan; Connor Wickham (att) Sheffield Wednesday – end of loan;

Out


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.

Target


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.

Season Review
2019/2020

№14: Crystal Palace

Defiant defending and an ability to grind out narrow 1:0 and 2:1 wins against direct rivals in the bottom half of the table proved enough for Palace to secure survival even before the COVID-break. With 10 of their 11 league wins achieved against teams also in the bottom 10, Palace definitely showed that at least in the lower half they can beat anyone. The lack of goals was a major concern all season though. This was the third consecutive campaign in which the Eagles were amongst the 3 most ineffective sides going forward. Stability in defence and midfield were the main strengths of Palace once again, with even the serious injury crisis amongst the defenders in 2020 not taking much from the solid resilience of the team. The obvious weaknesses was going forward with Palace having the lowest percentage ratio of shots on target compared to shot attempts in the entire league. None of the forward players played particularly well, with the only constant contributor, at least in decisive games, being Ayew. Zaha had a second consecutive mediocre campaign and the Ivorian definitely looks like a player that wants to leave the club as soon as possible. Benteke also struggled, but captain Milivojevic was once again major force in the heart of the midfield. He was equally helpful to the defensive line and to the forward players, on top of being excellent set piece taker. Coach Hodgson hopes to get serious money for Zaha this transfer window and if he is allowed to reinvest that money and bring better forward players in, the Eagles could be looking at a fruitful 2020/21 season. If not, Palace might be one of those teams set to struggle seriously.


Player of the Season: Luka Milivojevic

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