Crystal Palace have floated along for several seasons with final league positions barely scratching the surface of the turmoil in Croydon at times.
Tony Pulis remarkably kept the Eagles flying in 2014, Roy Hodgson has calmed the seas following the Frank de Boer’s five-game horror-show reign and still Palace are yet to find a reliable, prolific goalscorer from open play in six top flight seasons.
Despite the turbulence, Palace have somehow record six finishes between 10th and 15th – seemingly the model of consistency and stability.
Before long, something has to change. Palace will either kick on and begin to challenge for a top-half spot or slither down the league into real danger – but which way is it going to go?
RadioTimes.com has rounded up everything you need to know about Crystal Palace ahead of the 2019/20 season.
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) July 28, 2019
Where did Crystal Palace finish last season?
12th. A poor start saw Palace once again sweating before winter had even arrived.
Their early season wins over promoted sides Fulham and Huddersfield were drowned out by eight losses in their opening 13 games.
A remarkable victory over then-unbeaten Manchester City paved the way for a revival in the new year.
Palace posted nine wins from New Year’s Day onwards to comfortably hang onto their Premier League berth.
Who is Crystal Palace’s key player?
Andros Townsend. With Zaha set to exit and no immediate replacement on the horizon, so much of Palace’s attacking threat must come via Townsend.
The English winger has grown in consistency over the last couple of seasons under Hodgson. He always had the talent, but too often Townsend went missing in games.
If he can continue to front up and impose himself on games, Townsend can soften the blow of losing Zaha, though of course they need to open the wallet and spend.
Six goals and four assists last season isn’t a bad return for a low-scoring team without a reliable striker to aim for, and his impact should rise in the absence of Zaha. A big season awaits for Townsend.
Who is Crystal Palace’s biggest summer signing?
Jordan Ayew (£2.5m). Underwhelming, right? Palace raised around £50m through the sale of Aaron Wan-Bissaka but simply haven’t reinvested the cash.
With Zaha possibly set to take their player sales beyond the £100m mark, forgive the Palace faithful for not getting too excited about their business in the opposite direction.
Ayew spent last season at the club on loan from Swansea. He made 20 top flight appearances but only rippled the net once.
It’s a minimal fee for the 27-year-old, but he’s not the next-level signing may would’ve hoped for.
Who is the Crystal Palace manager? Meet Roy Hodgson
The England job turned Hodgson into a mere meme. His sprawling global career was forgotten in an instant when Iceland dumped the Three Lions out of Euro 2016.
His appointment at Palace was met largely with derision, but nobody is laughing any more. Hodgson has thoroughly restored his reputation and then some.
Hodgson has done a lot with a little, squeezing the most out of his players to ensure the volatile Eagles could find a steady footing in the Premier League, a job he has accomplished superbly.
The challenge now for Hodgson is building on that platform, but it’s down to the owners to give him the necessary resources to do just that.
Crystal Palace fixtures – The Start
10th August: Everton (H)
17th August: Sheffield United (A)
24th August: Manchester United (A)
Crystal Palace fixtures – The Run-In
2nd May: Manchester United (H)
9th May: Wolves (A)
17th May: Tottenham (H)
The fans say…
GORDON LAW, HOLMESDALE.NET
What is the mood like among fans going into 2019/20?
With the season only a couple of weeks away, there is a real worry among the fan base about the forthcoming campaign.
The team has lost its outstanding right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Manchester United who played an integral role in Palace’s effective back line.
No replacement has been brought in, while the continued rumours of talisman Wilfried Zaha leaving the club is dampening spirits.
Pre-season results haven’t provided much confidence with two defeats and just a penalty shoot-out victory from the three outings so far.
Who will be your key player this season?
If Wilfried Zaha stays, then he will undoubtedly be Palace’s main man yet again. The tricky forward is improving year on year and is finally adding goals to his game, notching 10 times last term.
He won vital penalties too, which spot-kick expert Luka Milivojevic converted to get Palace out of trouble on a number of occasions. Palace eventually broke their losing streak with him not in the line-up, but the team is notably lifted with his presence.
Any young talents to look out for?
After Wan-Bissaka’s meteoric rise from Palace’s U23 side to a starring role in the first team, all eyes will be on the Academy to see if anyone else can match that success.
Roy Hodgson has tended to stick with a more senior XI, but Wan-Bissaka’s success could tempt him to take a chance with youngsters.
Midfielder Nya Kirby, now aged 19, helped England win the Under-17 World Cup two years ago, and he impressed on loan at Blackpool last season. It could be his time to step up.
At the time of writing, Palace are yet to spend during this window despite raking in a huge fee for Wan-Bissaka – what’s going on there? Are you concerned by the lack of activity?
Apart from signing a third-choice keeper (Stephen Henderson), the only other acquisition has been striker Jordan Ayew and he was pretty underwhelming while on loan from Swansea last term, scoring just twice.
There are deep concerns with the lack of activity, but chairman Steve Parish is a canny operator and Palace often leave it to the last minute on deadline day to complete deals.
Having the Wan-Bissaka cash to boost the war chest gives Palace more options too. The key priority still remains a striker as the misfiring Christian Benteke is simply not good enough.
What is the general feeling towards Wilf Zaha amid the speculation over his future? Should he be allowed to leave, or is he simply too important to let go?
I don’t think the supporters would begrudge Zaha leaving for a bigger club like Arsenal and fulfil his ambition of playing European football as he has been an outstanding servant.
However, this would only be acceptable if Palace are compensated with the right fee of circa £80m and can find a suitable replacement. Otherwise, he must stay as Palace shouldn’t be held to ransom by player or another club.
Where will you finish in the Premier League?
As it stands with the current squad, I predict the team will finish in 15th place – just above the drop. Roy Hodgson has enough experience to keep the team up but new recruits are needed to make his job easier.
Where will Crystal Palace finish? RadioTimes.com says…
Palace have endured a disappointing summer so far with their two greatest assets walking through the exit door at Selhurst Park.
So far they’re yet to bring in fresh talent, meaning Hodgson remains their best hope of survival.
He will continue to motivate and drag his squad through rough patches by any means necessary, a firefighter role if ever there was one.
Despite the many reasons to feel downtrodden about Palace ahead of 2019/20, fans have cause for optimism in their boss and his players’ ability to bounce back from uncomfortable positions.