Tony Pulis left the Eagles less than 48 hours before their opening game of the season which led many to believe they were headed for the Championship. Their record under Neil Warnock did little to convince anyone otherwise, but a revival overseen by current manager Alan Pardew led to them achieving a record-breaking top half finish.
Pardew got Palace playing without fear as he brought the best out of the attacking trio of Yannick Bolasie, Jason Puncheon and Wilfried Zaha, as well as consistently solid performances from ‘player of the year’ Scott Dann. The Eagles were particularly effective away from home as teams struggled to cope with their pace and trickery on the counter, but their home form needs to improve if they are to make progress this season. Palace will be hoping to continue consolidating their place as an established Premier League club in the coming season and another top-half finish will be quite an ask, but isn’t out of the question.
STAR MAN – Yannick Bolasie (6.5m)
Yannick Bolasie played a key role in Crystal Palace’s attacking play last season, especially under Alan Pardew. His direct running and unpredictability made him difficult to handle for even the best defences and his hat-trick against Sunderland showed just how explosive he can be. He still needs to become more clinical in front of goal on a consistent basis to take his game to the next level but he has so much in his locker that he warrants consideration for your team. If Palace can keep hold of their star winger amid apparent transfer interest from ‘top 6’ clubs, then he’ll be central to all that the Eagles produce going forward this season.
HIDDEN GEM – Pape Souaré (4.5m)
For the last couple of seasons Palace were without a natural left back with Joel Ward, Martin Kelly and even Joe Ledley filling in at certain points. Palace’s solution was to sign Souaré from French club Lille last January. The 25 year old defender struggled for consistent game time as he settled into life in London, but showed when given the chance that if he can hold down the left-back berth then he holds great fantasy football potential. He is a very attack-minded full back who enjoys surging down the left wing and creating plenty of opportunities for his teammates with both crosses from wide areas and key passes. His assist potential makes him worth keeping an eye on if he gets regular starts in the Palace starting XI.
By Dan Bright.