Can New Signings Help Crystal Palace Return to the Middle of the Premier League Table?
Since coming up from the Championship after the 2012-13 season, Crystal Palace have become a relative mainstay in the Premier League. They've avoided relegation, broken their transfer record each of the past two summer windows and, most notably, made a spectacular run to the FA Cup Final last season, only to suffer a 2-1 loss to Manchester United in extra time.
However, after finishing 11th and 10th in their first two seasons in the top tier, they finished 15th under Alan Pardew a year ago, only five points above the relegation zone. Their participation in the FA Cup may have hindered them in league play as Pardew and the Eagles struggled mightily in the second half of the season.
|Wins||Losses||Draws||Points||Goals Scored||Goals Against|
|First 19 Games||9||6||4||31||23||16|
|Last 19 Games||2||12||5||11||9||35|
Palace went from December 19th to April 9th last season without a victory, mostly due to a complete collapse from the Eagles. After being tied for second in goals allowed and ending December in 5th place, they allowed 35 goals the rest of the way and only scored 9. They were able to ensure survival thanks to nine points in the final eight games, but it was a close call.
Two games into the 2016-17 season, Palace have suffered two close losses and are sitting in 19th place. Pardew's run to the cup final may have saved his job, but he needs results to get out of the hot seat this season.
In attempt to shore up the defense, Palace have brought in central defender James Tomkins from West Ham United and goalie Steve Mandanda from Marseille. Mandanda kept a clean sheet against Blackpool in the EFL cup on Tuesday and will look to carry that momentum into this weekend's fixture against Bournemouth. Tomkins has already praised Mandanda's solidity and confidence.
Upgrading on Julian Speroni and Wayne Hennessey was imperative, and Mandanda will be expected to lockdown the starting role. Pairing up Scott Dann with Tomkins should form a good partnership once the two become acquainted with each other, but only time will tell if Palace's new defensive recruits will translate to clean sheets.
On the other end, Palace have broken their transfer record for Christian Benteke. His Premier League scoring record was not just favorable, it was exceptional prior to his move to Liverpool, where Jurgen Klopp deemed him excess. Securing a top striker was something Palace failed to do last season, so a proven scorer like Benteke may give the Eagles' attackers and midfielders someone to rely on.
|Goals||Assists||Minutes per goal||Appearances|
Palace have made some solid signings thus far, and it does seem like the club is backing Pardew through their transfer activity. That being said, the investment in Pardew will require a return, and two losses early in the season is not a great start to that end.
The first two matches have ended unfavorably for Palace, and with fellow strugglers Bournemouth next on the schedule, Palace can kickstart the season with a victory. Integrating the new talent will likely be Pardew's top priority as he looks to get Palace back to being a mid-table side.