After finishing tenth last season and the year before eleventh Alan Pardew’s men are in with a shout of European football if they can get it right as the season enters its crucial phase.
The story of Crystal Palace is quite remarkable; in 2010 they were on the brink of being extinct, similar to what Bolton Wanderers are going through now. But six years on Palace are now an established Premier League club looking to break glass ceilings and progress to the next level.
To talk through some of the finer points at Crystal Palace we have my editor Jay Crame from TheEaglesBeak who has kindly answered some questions; if you’re a Palace fan then there is only one site you need to check out and that is TEB! I can assure you it really is that good!
The French maestro has transformed Palace
Palace have had the pleasure of seeing Yohan Cabaye in the red and blue for six months or so now; and the transformation of the side was instant, as the Frenchman has taken Pardew’s side to the next level on the pitch.
Cabaye came with a superb reputation following spells at Newcastle United where he worked under Pardew, and also from PSG. It was a real coup for Palace when they signed him for £13m. Since then him and Palace haven’t looked back.
“You only have to consider that in recent years we have had Mile Jedinak running our midfield. No offence to the big Aussie who has been great for us but, Yohan Cabaye is a big upgrade on that.”
The impact Cabaye has had at the club has been instrumental; the performances of other players have gone up a notch or too; and in an article in FourFourTwo at the start of the season they said: “Cabaye adds directness to Palace’s raw pace and power.”
His range of passing and creative flair is something Palace has benefited from. But what Palace fans were not expecting was his defensive qualities.
Jay said: “Many fans expected the flamboyant attacking prowess of the Frenchman but his battling defensive qualities have been a real addition to the team this season.
“He has an edge about him which has come to close to seeing red a couple of times but that is the passion he brings and more than fits into the Palace side,” continued Jay.
With Cabaye in the side, Palace is a whole another animal; he allows the more expansive players to do their thing while he dictates in the middle of the park.
But when Pardew has been without his talismanic midfielder it has shown; at the moment Palace don’t have the personnel in backup with passing ability of the Frenchman.
If Palace have aspirations of reaching the Europa League and claiming silverware, Cabaye will no doubt be central to it.
Palace’s European hopes hinge on signing a quality striker
There are few things which could curtail Palace’s quest for European; injuries could and have been an issue for Pardew lately. But the biggest issue is their lack of goals, signing a striker in the January transfer window is imperative, but Nicklas Bendtner is not the answer.
Palace have failed to score in four league games; and with Dwight Gayle injured, and Connor Wickham coming back from yet another injury – the striking department is a little scarce at SE25.
Another name which has been branded about is the former Arsenal, Manchester City, and Tottenham striker Emmanuel Adebayor, on a deal until the end of the season.
For me Bendtner is a definite no-go, why go for someone of his quality, when Palace have better forwards. I’m beginning to warm to the idea of Adebayor, but even still it would be a huge gamble on Pardew’s part.
“He has a proven track record and can we seriously turn down a striker that has scored goals for Arsenal, Spurs, Manchester City and Real Madrid. I am starting to think offering him a deal until the end of the season might not be such a bad thing,” says Jay.
“Could we tempt Ian Wright back from his media duties at all?” said Jay. Now he would be someone that would score goals for Palace, he’s done it before. It’s a shame he is just a tad too old nowadays.
Instead of splashing out the cash in summer for a striker, maybe Palace could invest in goalscoring midfielders: “For me, this season is all about the midfield scoring goals which is why Connor Wickham fits the mould perfectly as the lone striker. He is unlikely to get fifteen goals but if you look at the home demolition of Newcastle, it shows you just what it could do.”
Whatever happens until now and the end of the season, there is no doubt that Palace will be there or thereabouts come the end of May.
If you enjoyed this post, then wait for part two: Large part of Palace’s success down to Steve Parish, Alan Pardew, and the fans, as Jay discusses everything from Pardew, to the new owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer – it’s not to be missed!
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