Premier League 2017/18 Preview – Crystal Palace

cpfc

Image: BBC.co.uk

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

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5 Things You Might Have Missed From This Weekend’s Football

As the season nears the end across Europe, titles and relegations are beginning to be confirmed. This weekend saw titles confirmed in England and the Netherlands, whilst fans of French and Italian football will have to wait for their champions to be crowned. Elsewhere, Bayern completed an incredible comeback in their 5-4 win over RB Leipzig, Real Madrid remain in control of La Liga after a 4-1 win over Sevilla, whilst Benfica were crowned champions in Portugal.

Chelsea Clinch Premier League

West Bromwich Albion v Chelsea - Premier League - The Hawthorns

Image: FourFourTwo

On Friday night Chelsea travelled to West Brom looking to seal their second Premier League title in the last three years. The Blues were four points clear with three games remaining, so a win would see them confirmed as champions. The Blues dominated the match, but struggled to break through the resilient Baggies. But substitute Michy Batshuayi netted his second goal of the season with just eight minutes to go, meaning that the celebrations could begin.

Hull Suffer Relegation

hull relegated

Image: Hull Daily Mail

At the other end of the table, Hull City were relegated to the Championship following their 4-0 demolition at the hands of Crystal Palace. After Swansea had beaten Sunderland on Saturday, Hull needed at least a point to mathematically avoid relegation, although even that would have left them needing a significant swing in the goal differences. A defensive mistake from Andrea Ranocchia in just the third minute set the tone for the match, and Palace raced to secure the victory that kept them in the division.

Juventus Title Celebrations Delayed

Roma

Image: Daily Mail

In the week that Juventus secured their place in the Champions League final, they had the chance to secure their six consecutive Serie A title as they travelled to second place Roma. But it wasn’t to be for Massimiliano Allegri’s side, who went down 3-1 to Roma. Mario Lemina put Juve in the lead, but goals from Daniele De Rossi, Stephen El Shaarawy and Radja Nainggolan ensured that the gap at the top was cut to four points. But Roma’s hopes of breaking the monopoly still remain slim, as Juventus host eighteenth place Crotone next weekend.

Monaco Effectively Seal Ligue 1

AS-Monaco-vs-Lille-OSC

Image: Daily Mirror

A Falcao brace helped Monaco take a step closer to their first league title since 2000, as they beat Lille 4-0. A superb run from Kylian Mbappe set up Bernardo Silva for a tap-in, and a late own goal completed the rout. The victory sees Monaco three points clear of PSG, with a game in hand. PSG, who dismantled Saint-Etienne 5-0, would need Monaco to lose both of their remaining games, whilst the champions would need to win their final and hope for a significant goal swing to secure a fifth consecutive title.

Kuyt Hat-Trick Seals Feyenoord Title

kuyt

Image: Sky Sports

On the final day of the Eredivisie season, Dirk Kuyt netted a hat-trick to secure Feyenoord’s first title in 18 years. Feyenoord went in to the final day a point clear of Ajax, so needed a win against Heracles Almelo to secure the championship. Kuyt wasted no time in getting the ball rolling, scoring after just a minute, and adding a second after just twelve minutes. He completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot with just a few minutes remaining. Even a late consolation goal was not enough to stop Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side from clinching the title, ahead of Ajax, who managed a 3-1 win over Willem II despite naming the Eredivisie’s youngest ever team.

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 

Premier League Season Review: Part 4

Part four of this season review looks at the sides that avoided a relegation battle. Watford and Crystal Palace started the season strongly before falling away, whilst Tony Pulis delivered what he does with West Brom. Bournemouth’s first season in the Premier League saw them avoid the relegation scrap in a fantastic season for them.

Watford – Final Position: 13th – Prediction: 19th

deeney

Image: talksport

It was a season of two halves for Watford, who started very strongly. Going in to the new year they were still in the hunt for the European places, but their form fell off drastically as they dropped down to 13th. Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo both hit double figures, but other than that there were very few goalscorers. Many will see Quique Sanchez Flores’ dismissal as harsh, as the newly promoted team established themselves in the Premier League without having to worry about relegation. However, you have to trust the Watford owners here, as Flores himself was brought in on the back of Slavisa Jokanovic guiding them to promotion. A 4-2 loss to relegated Norwich has to be one of the lowlights for Watford, but the 3-0 humbling of Liverpool will live long in the memory.

West Brom – Final Position: 14th – Prediction: 13th

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Image: Sky Sports

West Brom’s season can be described in one word: Pulis. The Baggies averaged less than a goal a game as they scraped and drew their way to comfortable finish. Despite only finishing six points clear of the drop, West Brom never looked likely to go down. No player in the squad reached double figures in the league, a real sign of their lack of adventure going forward. One of the moments to forget for West Brom fans will be Saido Berahino’s two penalty misses in the 1-0 loss to Watford, but the wins at home to Arsenal and Manchester United stood out.

Crystal Palace – Final Position: 15th – Prediction: 12th

Crystal-Palace-v-Stoke-FA-Cup-Fourth-round

Image: irishmirror.ie

Much like Watford, Crystal Palace had a season of two halves. Fifth on New Years Day, Palace won just two more games all season in the league as they plummeted down in to a potential relegation battle. An FA Cup final will probably excuse a slight under-performance in the league, but it is clear that Palace need a goalscorer to be anything more than a team that just makes up the numbers. I thought that Patrick Bamford would be that man this season, but for whatever reason it didn’t work out for him this year. A 5-1 hammering of Newcastle in November was a particular highlight of their league campaign, but they also suffer the igmony of being one of the only sides to lose to Aston Villa.

Bournemouth – Final Position: 16th – Prediction: 16th

ritchie

Image: The Guardian

Bournemouth couldn’t have hoped for a better first season in the Premier League. After spending big in the summer, it all appeared to go wrong with Max Gradel, Tyrone Mings and Callum Wilson all picking up long term injuries. But the Cherries never looked like going down, hanging steadily in lower-mid-table. Bournemouth were certainly one of the more entertaining sides to watch, with only Everton and Sunderland scoring more out of the bottom ten, whilst only Aston Villa conceded more. A win over south coast neighbours Southampton will be a highlight for Bournemouth, while their – at the time plucky – 2-1 loss to Villa on the opening day now looks a poor result.

Perfect weekend on Merseyside as Chelsea slump continues

Jurgen Klopp has his first Premier League victory after his Liverpool side came from behind to beat Chelsea 3-1. Chelsea had taken the lead through an early Ramires goal, but Philippe Coutinho equalised just before the break. Coutinho put Liverpool in the lead with a deflected effort, and substitute Christian Benteke sealed the win. Both sides could have had a man sent off, with Lucas committing a professional foul whilst already booked, and Diego Costa kicking out at Martin Skrtel.

Philippe Coutinho's brace ended a run of 710 minutes without a Premier League goal. Source: dailymail.co.uk

Philippe Coutinho’s brace ended a run of 710 minutes without a Premier League goal. Source: dailymail.co.uk

The Blue half of Merseyside will be equally happy, after their 6-2 demolition of Sunderland. Gerard Deulofeu and Arouna Kone put the Toffees 2-0 up. Sunderland pulled level though, as Jermain Defoe’s shot deflected past Howard and Steven Fletcher headed the equaliser. Everton then took the points with three goals in quick succession, as Sebastian Coates diverted a cross in to his own net, Romelu Lukaku scored a fine individual goal and Kone added his second. Kone completed his hat-trick late on with a header to complete the rout.

Manchester City remain top after a nervy win over Norwich. Nicolas Otamendi gave them the lead with a powerful header, but Joe Hart spilt a routine cross for Cameron Jerome to tap in with just minutes to go. But there was still plenty of drama left, as Russell Martin was sent off for handling the ball with John Ruddy well out of position. Yaya Toure converted the penalty, a feat the Aleksandar Kolarov could not equal as City were awarded a second penalty in stoppage time.

Arouna Kone netted his first Premier League hat-trick against Sunderland. Source: dailymail.co.uk

Arouna Kone netted his first Premier League hat-trick against Sunderland. Source: dailymail.co.uk

Arsenal kept up with City with a 3-0 win over Swansea. Olivier Giroud opened the scoring, and Laurent Koscielny doubled the lead despite Swansea claiming that Fabianski was impeded. Joel Campbell sealed the win with his first goal for Arsenal. Leicester moved up to third with a thrilling 3-2 win at West Brom. Solomon Rondon headed the hosts in front, but a Riyad Mahrez brace gave the Foxes the lead. Jamie Vardy made it 8 consecutive games in which he has scored, joining Ruud van Nistelrooy and Daniel Sturridge, with a well placed finish. Rickie Lambert ensured a tense finish with a late penalty, especially as Christian Fuchs appeared to commit three late fouls in the area which all went unpunished.

Southampton overcame Bournemouth in a South coast derby. A Steven Davis volley and a Graziano Pelle header gave Saints the lead in the first half, but Victor Wanyama was sent off in the second half for picking up a second yellow card. Odion Ighalo scored both goals as Watford beat West Ham. In a game of shocking defending, his first came courtesy of Andy Carroll failing to clear his lines, whilst his second was an impeccable finish after an error from James Tomkins.

Crystal Palace and Manchester United played out a goalless draw, United’s third consecutive stalemate, whilst Jack Butland almost single handedly held Newcastle at bay, producing six saves to keep the game goalless. On Monday night, Tottenham host mangerless Aston Villa, although Remi Garde will be in the stands prior to his expected appointment.

Hammers pile on misery for Mourinho

West Ham continued their impressive record against the top sides as they beat Chelsea 2-1 at Upton Park. The match was a heated display, as Chelsea had Nemanja Matic sent off, had five other players pick up bookings, as well as having Mourinho and his assistant sent to the stands. Mauro Zarate gave the Hammers the lead as Chelsea failed to clear a corner. Chelsea came within centimetres of equalising, as a Zouma header was scrambled off the line. Cesc Fabregas also had a goal ruled out before Matic recieved his marching orders. Gary Cahill equalised in the second half with a powerful finish from a corner, but Andy Carroll headed the winner with just ten minutes left.

Source: Daily Mail

Source: Daily Mail

Harry Kane will hope his hat trick against Bournemouth will kickstart his season. Moussa Dembele and Eric Lamela also scored as Spurs recovered from a first minute Matt Ritchie goal to win 5-1. Sunderland continued their fine derby form, smashing 10 man Newcastle 3-0 at the Stadium of Light. Adam Johnson opened the scoring from the spot just before half time after Fabricio Coloccini was controversially dismissed. Billy Jones and Steven Fletcher completed the rout in the second half, lifting the Black Cats above their rivals.

Source: Daily Mail

Source: Daily Mail

Arsenal beat Everton 2-1 at the Emirates. Olivier Giroud opened the scoring with a deft header, and Laurent Koscielny doubled the lead two minutes later. Ross Barkley pulled one back before half time with a heavily deflected strike, but Arsenal saw the game out comfortably. Gareth Barry was sent off in stoppage time for a second booking.

Both Ayew brothers scored as Swansea beat Aston Villa. Jordan Ayew gave Villa the lead, but Gylfi Sigurdsson equalised with a free kick. Andre Ayew scored in the 87th minute to give Swansea the win, which proved to be the final nail in the coffin for Villa boss Tim Sherwood.

Zouma's header was just millimetres from crossing the line. Source: bbc sport

Zouma’s header was just millimetres from crossing the line. Source: bbc sport

Troy Deeney netted his first of the season as Watford shocked Stoke. Almen Abdi completed the scoring as he took advantage of Mark Wilson being caught in possession deep in his own half. Jurgen Klopp is still searching for his first win as Liverpool boss after a 1-1 draw with Southampton. Christian Benteke thought that he had won it for the Reds with a powerful header, but Sadio Mane bundled in to equalise late on. Mane was subsequently dismissed after picking up two needless bookings in stoppage time.

Jamie Vardy has now scored in seven consecutive games, helping Leicester to a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace. Salomon Rondon’s close range header saw West Brom to a 1-0 win at Norwich. The Manchester derby ended up goalless, a result that saw City stay on top of the table on goal difference.

McClaren safe as Toon hit six

After much speculation about his position, Steve McClaren looks a lot safer after his Newcastle side thumped Norwich 6-2. Summer signing Georginio Wijnaldum scored four, with strikers Ayoze Perez and Aleksander Mitrovic also netting. Dieumerci Mbokani had pulled the Canaries back to 1-1, and Nathan Redmond kept them in with a shout by making it 3-2 at half time. The result catapults Newcastle above rivals Sunderland, and they are now just two points from safety.

Source: the guardian

Source: the guardian

Manchester City brought their total to 11 goals in two games with a 5-1 demolition of Bournemouth. Raheem Sterling netted a first half hat-trick, with Wilfried Bony also scoring, whilst Glenn Murray had given the visitors hope with his strike making it 2-1. Bony completed the scoring late on to prove that City could perform without Kompany, Silva or Aguero.

Arsenal sit in second after a second half salvo at Watford. The hosts had held the Gunners at arms length, but three goals in 11 minutes, courtesy of Sanchez, Giroud and Ramsey, secured Wenger’s side the three points. Manchester United are in third after ending their Goodison Park hoodoo. Morgan Schneiderlin opened the scoring with a tidy finish, with Herrera and a rare Rooney goal sealing the win.

Source: the guardian

Source: the guardian

West Ham overcame their old boss Alan Pardew at Selhurst Park. Carl Jenkinson opened the scoring for the visitors, but Yohan Cabaye equalised with a retaken penalty. The game changed as Dwight Gayle was sent off for Palace, allowing Lanzini and Payet to take advantage in the dying minutes. Leicester produced a magnificent comeback at St Mary’s, with Jamie Vardy nabbing a second half brace. Southampton centre backs Jose Fonte and Virgil Van Dijk had given Saints a half time lead, but the Premier League’s top scorer netted the equaliser in stoppage time.

Chelsea remain in the bottom half of the table despite a 2-0 against Aston Villa. The returning Diego Costa and an Alan Hutton own goal saw the Blues through. Saido Berahino netted the only goal as West Brom beat bottom of the table Sunderland, and an early Bojan penalty was the only action of note in the Monday night game as Stoke won at Swansea. Jurgen Klopp’s first game as Liverpool manager ended in a 0-0 stalemate at Spurs.