Premier League 2015-16 season preview: Crystal Palace

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Crystal Palace are all of a sudden everyone’s favorite second team. They are a team full of vibrant attackers who never say die and their fans create a boisterous and hostile atmosphere home or away. The Eagles are all set to soar into their third-straight season as a Premier League club.

[ MORE: All of PST’s season previews ]

Palace exceeded everyone’s expectations last year after a superb second half of the campaign following Alan Pardew’s arrival as manager. When former Palace midfielder Pardew left Newcastle for Palace in midseason they were in the relegation zone but they ended up finishing 10th. Remarkable. Palace have never won a league title and their best effort in the FA Cup came when Pardew was playing for them in 1990 but they lost to Manchester United in the final.

The south London club have a local rivalry with Charlton Athletic and Brighton and Hove Albion, both in England’s second-tier, while in the PL they will come up against London rivals Chelsea, West Ham, Arsenal and Tottenham.

Best possible XI:

—– McCarthy —–

— Ward — Dann — Delaney — Soare —

— Jedinak —– Cabaye —– McArthur —

—– Bolasie  —-  Bamford —- Puncheon —-

Transfers In: Yohan Cabaye ($20 million, Paris Saint-Germain), Alex McCarthy ($5 million, QPR), Patrick Bamford (Season-long loan, Chelsea)

Transfers Out: Shola Ameobi (Released), Steven Dobbie (Released), Peter Ramage (Released), Jerome Thomas (Released), Owen Garvan (Released), Lewis Price (Free, Sheffield Wednesday)

source: Getty Images
Cabaye will be the main man for Palace.

Last season: 10th in Premier League – After the sudden departure of Tony Pulis on the eve of last season, the Eagles were struggling under Neil Warnock up until January and then roared up the standings when he was fired and Pardew took his place. Pardew got the best out of Yannick Bolasie, Jason Puncheon, Glenn Murray and Wilfried Zaha as they won 10 of their last 18 games to finish in the top 10. It was a sensational season and the first time Palace had finished in the top half of the PL.

Star player: Yohan Cabaye – He hasn’t kicked a ball yet for Palace, but we all know Cabaye will become the heartbeat of the Eagles. The French international midfielder, 28, may turn out to be the best signing of the summer as Palace paid a club record $20 million to Paris Saint-Germain for the creative genius. Cabaye pulled the strings for Newcastle when Pardew was his boss, and expect plenty of the same once again as his deadly set pieces and inch-perfect passes will be just what the likes of Bolasie and Zaha need.

Coaches’ Corner: Pardew’s legendary status at Selhurst Park is growing by the day after his managerial success last season. He is known as “Pardiola” in his native south London, as he returned home to not only saved the Eagles from relegation, but also mastermind their best-ever PL finish. He has spent wisely this summer and if Palace get off to a good start, their goal of finishing in the top eight could happen. They are fun to watch with Pardew letting his forward players express themselves, but he is one of the best managers in the PL at getting his teams to keep their shape. All in all, Pardew and Palace could be on the cusp of a major breakthrough.

source: Getty Images
Alan Pardew

PST predicts: Sticking with the positive theme, Palace will be aiming to finish in the top 10 once again. Last season was the first time in club history that they were preparing for a second-straight season in the PL and they will look to build on that success and become an establish PL club. With mercurial talents like Puncheon, Bolasie and Cabaye around, Palace will look to kick things on. Despite issues with their defense, expect another season of progress from the Selhurst club.

WATCH: Zlatan stunner answers Vela’s opener in El Trafico

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic is walking it like he talks it, not that that’s anything new.

A few days after claiming superiority over LAFC superstar Carlos Vela, Ibrahimovic and his Galaxy trailed early in El Trafico via a Vela penalty.

[ MORE: Latest on Eriksen ]

Naturally, Zlatan took it upon himself to answer the bell with his 14th goal in 17 games.

Ibrahimovic chests a long ball onto his right foot, cooking Eduard Atuesta by pushing it into position for a tremendous lash into the LAFC goal.

And if you haven’t been following LAFC’s amazing season, Atuesta’s probably been the side’s best player after Vela, who now has 20 goals in 20 games.

Wizard stuff.

Borussia Dortmund tops Liverpool 3-2 at Notre Dame

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A half-hour of the big guns wasn’t enough to get Jurgen Klopp a result against his former team.

Harry Wilson and Rhian Brewster scored for Liverpool in a 3-2 loss to Borussia Dortmund at the University of Notre Dame on Friday.

Paco Alcacer, Thomas Delaney, and Jacob Bruun Larsen scored for the Black Yellow, who led 3-1 when mass changes began with Virgil Van Dijk, Georginio Wijnaldum, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson, and Andrew Robertson entering the match.

Liverpool faces Sevilla on Sunday at Fenway Park in Boston.

[ MORE: Latest on Eriksen ]

Alcacer with the ball in the box is a bad idea, and the Spaniard took advantage of Nathaniel Clyne and Joel Matip to smash home from a yard outside the six.

Wilson leveled the score before halftime, but Delaney made it 2-1 in the 53rd minute when a long diagonal ball beat the Reds line and a low pass across the box went undetected.

It was 3-1 via a clever Bruun Larsen touch to wrong foot James Milner, but Brewster brought the Reds back to within one when he converted a 75th minute penalty won by Ben Woodburn.

Liverpool was without Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Mohamed Salah, who are on break after deep summer tournament runs.

Eriksen offered big Spurs wages, but Atletico Madrid lurks

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Christian Eriksen may trade London for Madrid after all, but Marca claims it’ll be Real Madrid’s rivals who earn the services of Tottenham’s Danish playmaker.

Eriksen, 27, scored 10 goals with 17 assists for Spurs in all competitions last season, and was reportedly ready to spread his wings for Real Madrid.

[ MORE: Kean to Everton? ]

But pro-Real site Marca says Zinedine Zidane doesn’t want Eriksen at the Bernabeu, and that Diego Simeone feels differently… should Atletico Madrid fail at landing his prime option.

That’s James Rodriguez, who remains property of Real and that’s a problem.

So Eriksen to Atleti, helping to replace Antoine Griezmann? It’s possible.

From Marca.com:

Just last November, the London club put a 250 million euro price tag on his head, but now appear keen to move him on. The next few days will likely reveal a lot about what’s to come.

So we may get an idea of whether this report has any guts to it by next week. There could be some sense to it, but Metro claims that Spurs are offering Eriksen an “enormous” contract to keep him in North London.

Enormous means a doubling of Eriksen’s wages, and the Dane is said to be happy in England. Might Spurs hold off the finest of La Liga and Serie A after all.

Report: Everton could land Juventus’ Kean after all

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Everton could end up with one of the hottest prospects in world soccer.

Moise Kean may wind up leaving Juventus due to the club’s failure to offload fellow strikers Mario Mandzukic and Gonzalo Higuain.

And Kean, 19, was poised for a breakthrough to the first team, to the extent that Juve reportedly turned down a $33 million bid from Everton.

[ MORE: Algeria wins AFCON ]

The Toffees, however, may have new life due to the Higuain/Mandzukic problem, and Sky Sports Italia reports that Kean may indeed be an option for Marco Silva‘s club. He could join Michael Keane, if he’s keen.

It wouldn’t be surprising if Kean elected to leave Italy given the racial abuse he’s suffered in Serie A (Though racism is everywhere, of course).

The same report says Kean turned down a Barcelona offer because he would’ve headed on loan, while Arsenal is also said to be in the mix.

Kean scored six Serie A goals with an assist in just 13 matches for Juventus last season after scoring four times for Hellas Verona on loan.