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2016/17 preview: Crystal Palace aiming high

5 Aug 2016
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Eagles looking to build on FA Cup final appearance last season

With the new Premier League season only days away, we run the rule over all 20 clubs competing in the 2016/17 campaign.

Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace will be hoping to emulate their start to last season they won three of their first four matches to sit second place in the table by mid-September.

Highest finishing position

Members of the Premier League’s 1992/93 founding season, the new campaign will be Palace’s eighth as a PL team.

Their best finish to date came in 2014/15, when Alan Pardew took charge mid-season and won 10 of 18 matches before the end of the term, including memorable victories over Liverpool and Manchester City.

Signings

The Eagles have signed Andros Townsend, Steve Mandanda and James Tomkins so far, with the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor, Brede Hangeland and Dwight Gayle on the departure list.

Pardew is still hoping to add to his centre-forward options with the signing of a striker before the end of the transfer window.

Expected formation

Palace tried out a 3-5-2 system during their pre-season tour of the US and the set-up could feature prominently in the new season.

"We want to look at this system because we have players who can play in it and there were some good individual performances there (vs Vancouver Whitecaps)," assistant manager Keith Millen said.

"We do feel we might come up against it more often in the league next season; some of the Premier League teams will play that."

How Pardew will set his side up against West Bromwich Albion on 13 August could well depend on whether a striker is acquired, as the club also strive to fit the likes of Townsend, Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha into the same starting XI.

Managers

Alan Pardew has been in charge since January 2015, when he succeeded Neil Warnock at Selhurst Park.

His all-time PL record stands at 285 matches, 104 wins, 60 draws and 121 losses.

Last season

The 2014/15 campaign was Pardew’s first full season in charge and although the club were unable to keep up their strong start in the PL after the festive period, they did end the campaign on a high with an FA Cup final appearance.

Pre-season form

Palace went their first five summer matches unbeaten before losing out to Fulham at the sixth attempt on 30 July.

They bounced back to make it four wins from seven with a 2-1 victory over Bromley on Tuesday – Sullay Kaikai netting a brace – and a busy pre-season schedule will be completed with fixtures against Valencia and Farnborough on 6 and 8 August respectively.

Significant injuries

"Looking at us, we should have everybody fit physically for the first game, apart from Bakary Sako and Fraizer Campbell," Pardew said this week.

The attacking pair are currently joined on the injury list by summer recruit James Tomkins and James McArthur but it is hoped that they will both be back to full fitness imminently.

What the manager says

“I have signed a new contract, we have new, ambitious American investors and with my chairman Steve Parish we all want to attack this division.”

Did you know?

A total of 48.7% of Crystal Palace’s Premier League goals in 2015/16 came via set-pieces; a league-high share.

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