Crystal Palace Can Push On From Last Season

Crystal Palace Can Push On From Last Season

There is certain optimism about Crystal Palace. They’re no longer considered a team that will be relegation battlers and will only be competing to stay in the top flight. Instead, Palace have shown over the last two seasons, under two different managers, that they have the team and the heart to do considerably better.

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Pardew left Newcastle United last season for Crystal Palace, a move that many didn’t understand given the difference in positions of the two clubs at the time. It didn’t seem like a particularly wise thing to do back then, but the manager ensured he backed his decision with an outstanding half season with the Eagles and led them to a 10th placed finish; while his old team narrowly escaped relegation on the last day.

Before Pardew, Palace averaged 0.85 points per game. After getting him, they were much more industrious, illustrated by the fact that they averaged 1.72 per game. Newcastle evidently experienced the polar opposite of that. They averaged 1.44 points per game under Pardew and 0.68 under John Carver. Many even went as far as saying that the only reason Newcastle even survived the season was due to the points Pardew got them before jumping ships. This won’t be a totally absurd thing to suggest.

With two successive seasons and two above-par finishes for the club (11th and 10th respectively), Palace seem to be on the quest of consolidating themselves firmly in the Premier League. The club seems in a healthier position and the fans want the club to be firmly established in the league.

The aim for this season for the club is not just staying up, it is of consolidating themselves and hoping for a top 10 finish and possibly a cup run.

Palace have certainly shown their intent in doing the same. The club record signing of Yohan Cabaye from Paris Saint-Germain for £10m shows aspiration. Not only that, it is a shrewd pick as the manager has added a player who has performed very well under him and for a spot where the club needed injection of quality. Cabaye was instrumental in Pardew’s Newcastle finishing fifth in 2012 and the manager would hope a repeat of the same from the Frenchman.

The club also needed goalscorers and in Patrick Bamford, they’ve got the same. The youngster has been signed on loan from Chelsea and Palace fans will hope last season’s Championship Player of the Year can put on similar performances for the Eagles. The fact that Palace have been linked with the likes of Loic Remy and Charlie Austin signifies that they do understand the significance to have a prolific goalscorer upfront and that Bamford is not a guaranteed hit for them as he could likely take time in getting going. There is no denying that his goalscoring record in the Championship for Middlesbrough was very impressive. But then again, tipping him to be a guaranteed hit in the Premier League would be a bit naïve. Glenn Murray of course scored six in six games for Alan Pardew towards the tail end of last season and the 31-year-old could prove to be an incredibly important player for Palace once again, if not in the striker role then certainly in the veteran capacity.

Scott Dann signing a new contract at the club is especially great news for Palace fans. The 28-year-old, who was the club’s Player of the season last season, penned a new deal worth £65,000-a-week. Dann agreeing a new contract was as good as signing a new player. His importance in the back-line for Palace cannot be understated. He is often called the glue that holds the Palace defence together and this statement cannot be passed on as hyperbole. He has helped the likes of Martin Kelly and Damien Delaney to improve at the back. Seeing Palace every week will make you realize how important Dann is to the club and to the defence.

The club management acted wisely and also got Jason Puncheon, James McArthur, Julian Speroni, Brede Hangeland and Damien Delaney to sign new contracts. All this shows intent and ambition. And the fact that the players are agreeing to extend their future at the club shows that they do see Palace’s ambition.

The Eagles have come far in the last five years, and have remarkably built on the success of the previous season every year. If the pattern is to continue and the successful summer after a successful season indicates the same, Palace fans are indeed in for a treat and we could perhaps see Pardew’s side being the annoying thorn in the contest for European berths.