Pre-Season Preview: Crystal Palace


After a 12th-placed finish last season, Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace team will target the top half this season.

Crystal Palace finished last season well, winning three and drawing once in their last five matches including a 3-2 win over Arsenal at the Emirates to guide themselves to 12th spot. That position was a good achievement by the Eagles who avoided a relegation scrap by finishing 15 points above the bottom three.

The south London club were led by top scorer and penalty expert Luka Milivojevic with 12 and Wilfried Zaha who registered ten goals and a further five assists.


Palace haven’t been the most active club in this transfer window, seeing more players depart Selhurst Park than arrive. Jordan Ayew, who spent last season on loan in south London, has made him move permanent whilst Stephen Henderson bolstered the goalkeeping ranks after the departure of club legend Julian Speroni.

The club have today announced the capture of former Chelsea and England defender Gary Cahill, a player who will surely add experience and a winning mentality to Roy Hodgson’s men.

Jason Puncheon and Bakery Sako left the club at the expiration of their contract whilst Norweigan striker Alexander Sörloth will spend the season on loan at Turkish side Trabzonspor.

The big departure of the summer from Selhurst Park was undoubtedly Palace academy graduate Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who after a superb first full season in the Premier League, joined Manchester United for a reported £50 million.

The Eagles have yet to replace the departed full-back and will hope that they can avoid a double blow by keeping star man Wilfried Zaha past Thursday’s deadline amid reported interest from Everton and Arsenal.


Palace start their campaign by welcoming Everton to Selhurst Park before travelling to Sheffield United and Manchester United.

Two home fixtures against Aston Villa and Wolves sandwich a trip to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in a first set of fixtures that present an opportunity to take points off two of the newly-promoted sides early on in the season.


Roy Hodgson has clearly been frustrated at his club’s lack of transfer activity and spoke out what the difficulties Palace have faced this pre-season.

“The way pre-season was set up was excellent, the major problem has been the lack of personnel.

“We’ve been involved in all the games we played virtually with no more than half of the players who saw us through the end of last season.

“We have to start again with quite a few players because four or five of our most important players have not been with us.

“If we are going to get to the level we got to last season, it’s going to be a question of making sure one or two who are still unfit from the end of last season can become fit again and join us on the field of play.”


Much of Palace’s targets for the season depends how they end the transfer window in under a week’s time. Should they fail to land their targets and replace the outgoing Wan-Bissaka, Eagles fans may fear a battle for survival this season.

Frustration must surely force its way onto the Selhurst Park faithful after seeing teams around them such as Newcastle, Brighton and Bournemouth all invest heavily in their squad.

Roy Hodgson will hope that his transfer targets are secured in order to push for a better finish than 12th with the club looking over-reliant on Wilfried Zaha once again.

One thing is for sure, the Palace fans will have Selhurst Park rocking on Saturday when Everton travel to south London as they try to make their home a fortress this season.

Expected starting XI

Guaita; Ward, Cahill, Sakho, Van Aanholt; Milivojevic, McArthur, Meyer; Townsend, Benteke, Zaha


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