We continue our Premier League previews with Crystal Palace.
If there was ever a team who couldn’t wait for the 2015/16 season to finish it was Crystal Palace. Their FA Cup run, which saw them lose in the final to Manchester United, was their saviour.
Manager Alan Pardew could do no wrong early on in the season but an awful 2016 saw his Crystal Palace side in danger of slipping into the relegation zone. Fortunately for ‘Pardew’s Palace’ they won two crucial games against Norwich and Stoke.
The main issue for Palace last season was their lack of fire power up front with Emmanuel Adebayor being a huge let down. While they have promised much in the transfer market with rumours of bids for Saido Berahino and Christian Benteke they are yet to acquire a goal scorer.
Last season’s top scorer, Dwight Gayle with just seven goals, has been sold to Newcastle and Crystal Palace’s season really does depend on who they bring in as a striker.
With an attacking midfield, now bolstered by Andros Townsend, chances will certainly be created at Selhurst Park but they need someone to put them away.
Pardew is a popular figure at Palace but failure to find a decent striker could be make or break. The Eagles have surprised many by maintaining their Premier League status and will not want to jeopardise that for the sake of keeping a club favourite in charge. A poor start for Palace could see Pardew be the first Premier League manager to be sacked.
While you may have to wait until nearer the season for the manager markets to be available, Palace may well continue their dismal 2016 record through to the new season so 14/1 to be bottom at Christmas is worth a play.
Acquiring a striker, like Benteke or Berahino, will change the approach to backing Palace. With a decent striker they will be a threatening side going forward and a top 10 finish at 3/1 is certainly doable. If you're chasing some value then the cup could once again be Palace's chance to triumph this season. Palace to win the League Cup is 50/1 and not completely out of the question.