Premier League 2016/17 Preview – Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace v Arsenal - Premier League

Yohan Cabaye will need to step up if Palace are to avoid a relegation scrap. Image: London Evening Standard

For the past two seasons, Crystal Palace have started off very well, before their form falls off a cliff after the turn of the year. Last season saw the Eagles drop from European contention in December to finishing just five points, and three places above the bottom three. Alan Pardew has moved early to sure up the Eagles’ back line, with Marseille ‘keeper Steve Mandanda and the solid James Tomkins moving to Selhurst Park. However, their defence was not their problem last season – it was goal scoring. Only Villa (27) scored less goals than Palace last season (39 – joint with Norwich) and top scorer Dwight Gayle has left to join Newcastle. Andros Townsend has been brought in, who will chip in with a few goals, but he is not known for creating many assists. Connor Wickham and Frazier Campbell are Palace’s only senior strikers at the moment, so midfielders such as Townsend, Jason Puncheon and Yahan Cabaye will need to contribute immensely if Palace are to avoid a relegation scrap. The Eagles face an incredibly tough run in, so they will need points on the board early in the season to stave off any fears of the drop.

Key Man: Yohan Cabaye. The French midfielder joined the Eagles last season with high expectations, but he struggled to live up to expectations. Despite finishing as Palace’s joint-second top scorer, three of his five goals came from the spot. Cabaye must contribute more goals and assists if Palace are going to thrive this season.

One to Watch: Hiram Boateng. The midfielder was named Palace’s Development Player of the Year last season after an impressive loan spell at Plymouth, and even made his Premier League debut in February. If he stays at Selhurst Park, Boateng may find his way in to the team as James McArthur’s deputy.

Last Season: 15th 

Prediction: 18th 

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