Crystal Palace news, season preview: The 2020-21 Premier League season is almost here and our season previews will give you all of the information you need to know about each of the 20 PL clubs.
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Okay, time to focus on the Eagles…
2019-20 finish: 14th (11W-10D-17L, 43 points)
Head coach: Roy Hodgson
2019-20 PL top scorer: Jordan Ayew (9 PL goals)
Location: South London
ProSoccerTalk’s key topic on Crystal Palace: Hodgson on the hot seat?
In seven seasons as a Premier League club, Crystal Palace have had six different managers, which is to say the Eagles aren’t the most patient bunch in the world when results take a downturn. Finishing last season without a win in any of his side’s final eight games will not have done Roy Hodgson any favors. Prior to the restart of the season, Palace sat 11th in the table and were just two points off 8th, well within striking distance. They took just one point from their final eight games — a draw on the final day of the season, following seven straight defeats — and fell to 14th instead.
Given the circumstances under which Hodgson himself was appointed — Frank de Boer was fired just five games into his first season in charge — Hodgson will know his side must start the season quickly in order to avoid a similar fate.
Crystal Palace news: The current situation
Anytime a club starts a new season with its best player a 50-50 prospect — at best — to remain at the club after the transfer window closes, it’s not going to be an easy storm to navigate. That is, unfortunately, the case for Palace and star winger Wilfried Zaha. Though his production fell off considerably in 2019-20 (4 goals, 3 assists after racking up 10 and 5 in 2018-29), Zaha has been linked with a handful of clubs from around the PL and elsewhere in Europe. Hodgson had the following to say back in July: “If he feels he just does not want to be with us any more, that would be sad. We still like him very much; we can’t make him like us. This is a situation that only he and the club can sort out.”
Key Crystal Palace news, season objectives
- Will season no. 8 be the one in which Palace finally break through and finish higher than 10th? They’ve managed finishes of 10th, 11th (twice) and 12th, but never quite put together a complete season to reach single digits.
- Hodgson’s contract is set to expire next summer. Will Palace re-sign the 73-year-old, or is the writing on the wall regarding his time at Selhurst Park? If he’s already to leave next summer, how will that affect the club and the players this season?
- Eberechi Eze: Signed from Queens Park Rangers for $21 million, is Eze the long-term solution to Palace’s Zaha “problem”? The 22-year-old scored 14 goals and provided 8 assists last season in the EFL Championship.
- Nathan Ferguson: Signed from West Bromwich Albion for an undisclosed and unreported fee (the sides had previously agreed a $16-million deal in January before a knee injury saw the transfer canceled), the highly-rated 19-year-old center back made 21 appearances in the Championship last season.
ProSoccerTalk’s prediction for Crystal Palace in 2020-21
As stated above, the uncertainty surround Zaha and Hodgson are massive red flags ahead of the new season. Anytime you’re unsure whether your manager or best player will be at the club a week or a month from now, it’s a tough situation. But, when both have major doubts over their futures? That’s when things start to fall to pieces quickly.
Given Palace exceeded expectations for three-quarters of the year last season, and still only managed a 14th-place finish, it’s hard to see them doing much more than that in 2020-21. If the Eagles can manage to stay up and book a ninth season in the PL, perhaps next summer will see a hugely needed rebuild undertaken.