The future is looking bright for Crystal Palace. Frank de Boer has come in to replace Sam Allardyce, who left after keeping Palace up last season. However, this squad should never have been in that situation, and De Boer should be aiming for a solid mid-table finish. He did not fare well at Inter Milan, but a number of managers have failed to turn around the Nerazurri’s fortunes. De Boer has played a 3-4-3 formation in pre-season, and it will be interesting to see whether this will play to the strengths of Christian Benteke and Wilfried Zaha. Palace’s signings this summer have been very positive. Ruben Loftus-Cheek clearly has immense talent, and will be playing to prove that he is capable of being a Premier League regular. Jairo Riedewald is a ball-playing defender who is also comfortable in defensive midfield, and the 20-year-old already has three caps for the Netherlands. Timothy Fosu-Mensah has also come in on loan, reinforcing that De Boer will look to focus on developing a young squad as he did at Ajax, especially with the departures of Fraizer Campbell, Mattheu Flamini and Joe Ledley.
Key Player: Wilfried Zaha. The winger was one of Palace’s star players last season, netting seven goals and providing nine assists. Under a more attack-minded coach, Zaha’s impact could be even greater this season. He will be playing in a more advanced position this season, as a part of the front three, and is already seemingly a marked man in the pre-season friendlies with De Boer complaining about his rough treatment from opposition players.
One to Watch: Jason Lokilo. The 19-year-old has featured up front for Palace throughout their pre-season friendlies, including starts against FC Metz and Schalke. The winger has impressed De Boer with his pace and ability to take players on, as well as his set-piece delivery, and this could see him being given a chance alongside Zaha, who many at the club are likening him to.
Last Season: 14th
Predicted Finish: 12th