Steven Dobbie

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.

Holloway disappointed with Crystal Palace, slams officiating

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LONDON — Despite seeing his Crystal Palace side push Tottenham all the way in their opening Premier League game, Ian Holloway wasn’t impressed at all.

Spurs hung on, after a late flurry of chances for Palace, to claim a 1-0 win at a packed Selhurst Park in South London.

Holloway’s side got stuck in and battled hard to try and break down Spurs. But they lacked creativity and the Crystal Palace manager felt his side didn’t acquit themselves properly in the first half.

“Bit disappointed to be honest. Thought we normally play a bit better and quicker and sharper than that with the ball. Did we get to grip with it quick enough in the first half?” Holloway mused. “You know. I was disappointed with our lack of belief and our movement and passing really.”

Holloway then went on to talk about the decision to not award a free kick when Steven Dobbie was shoulder barged off the ball on the halfway line. Spurs then broke towards Palace’s goal and won the penalty kick that handed them all three points.

(MORE: Tottenham’s new look midfield still a work in progress)

The eccentric 50-year-old manager was not happy with the handball decision given against Dean Moxey after Aaron Lennon’s right-wing cross hit his arm.

“We get a break into their half. Unbelievable shoulder barge on Dobbie and nothing was given. I was going crazy then. And then it lead to a completely, unbelievable, dubious handball,” Holloway said. “Was it deliberate? I didn’t think he had a chance. Yes his arms came up but he was diving on the floor. You ask anybody, if you’re falling what happens to your arms? I’ve never seen anybody fall with their arms by their side.”

(MORE: Crystal Palace 0 – Tottenham 1; Soldado’s penalty kick seals Spurs win)

Holloway had been extremely late to his post-match press conference, after staying behind to speak to the referee about the penalty decision.

source: Getty Images
Holloway felt his side “lacked confidence” on the ball.

“Yeah, why do you think I’ve been so long?” Holloway said after the gathered media waited for well over an hour. “It’s not really the referee’s fault is it. It should be the bloke stood right where I was. The linesman. We’ve got professional referee’s but we haven’t got professional linesmen. I can’t believe he didn’t see it.”

And Holloway’s rant continued, as he revealed his discussion with the referee about the penalty decision.

“They’re [referee’s] always right aren’t they,” Holloway said. “I’ve got no problem with the referee. I don’t want to get into trouble. It’s my first game back. If you didn’t see a foul there, if you think this is sour grapes then fine.”

No matter what you think about Holloway’s comments post game, it was certainly surprising to hear him expressing his disappointment about his sides display. The former Blackpool manager, who played an attacking brand of soccer when the Tangerines were in the Premier League in 2010-11, conceded that his side will have to play more defensive to try and get wins this year.

Lacking in creative nous and pace, Holloway added that he wants to bring in new signings with attackers the main focus.

Holloway, typically, had a clever quip about that. “I’m going to try [and bring in signings] ask Mr. Wenger if he’s confident of getting some signings. It’s not easy for any of us, however much you’ve got.”

Whether or not Holloway can bring in much needed new faces remains to be seen. His side have plenty of defensive stability and commitment… But that will only get you so far in the Premier League.

Holloway wants belief and confidence from his players and he needs that sooner, rather than later.