Tony Pulis was the arguably the manager of the year for the way he managed to guide Crystal Palace to Premier League safety when all hope seemed to have been lost. With that in mind many believed that with the same management Palace would be more than capable of repeating last season’s triumphs, but with the shock news of Pulis leaving the club so close to the start of the new campaign, I’m not so sure.
Palace have certainly seen the defence as an area that needed to be improved and have certainly brought in some players with some Premier League experience. Scott Dann, Martin Kelly and Brede Hangeland can all offer their experiences to help push forward the Palace back line. One thing that strikes you about these signings is that they are all physical players and would certainly take some strength to be pushed off the ball.
Fraizer Campbell – Formerly of Manchester United, Sunderland and Cardiff, Campbell is certainly a striker who can be deadly, once given the right service. However, Campbell does need to go up a gear if he is to succeed this season. He needs to make sure he links up well with other strikers such as Chamakh and Gale and use his pace to get in behind the defence. With the majority of the squad being physical players, it is up to individuals such as Campbell to provide the pace the Palace will need this season.
Mile Jedinak – This player was an unsung hero in the Premier League last season, not many teams could cope with his presence. The Australian joined Crystal Palace in 2011 and was instrumental in their promotion two seasons ago. His leadership in the middle was clear to see and will need to remain strong again this season especially with a new manager coming in soon.
Jason Puncheon – Now that Puncheon is finally settled at a Premier League club it is great to see the talent that he has shining through. Last season Puncheon scored 10 goals from the wing and also came in with a number of assists as well, especially towards the end of the campaign where Palace just seemed invincible!
Where will Palace finish this season?
That is the question! A week ago I would have put them down as team that could possibly finish mid-table, especially with a man like Tony Pulis in charge. Now however, it is just a waiting game. I think after a month or so we will get a big indication of as to how Palace will be playing this season. In my opinion, it is important that they bring in a manager who is prepared to carry on Tony’s good work. The majority of the players are big men (typical of Tony Pulis) so it would be careless to appoint someone who is keen to constantly play football on the ground, instead they need to mix it up like they did last year. But if you want my advice, if you’re undecided like me as to whether they will stay up or go down, flip a coin… We won’t know anything until the next man is appointed!