In this series of 20 articles, we take a look back at the Premier League season, focusing on each team individually. We take a look at transfer window activity, managerial changes, and key points throughout the season.
Crystal Palace seems to be one of those teams that never really do much in the transfer window. They never seem to sign anyone massive, they field near enough of the same team each season, and this year it was no different.
In terms of outgoings, apart from a few free agents, the only player to leave Crystal Palace was Christian Benteke, and with the club already having more than enough options upfront, they decided not to replace him.
Crystal Palace did do a small amount of business though. Sambi Lokonga joined them on loan from Arsenal, and Sam Johnstone joined on a free, previously playing for West Brom.
Palace added 2 midfielders and a defender to their ranks as well. Ahamada joined from Stuttgart and Cheick Doucoure arrived from RC Lens to bolster the Palace midfield, as Chris Richards arrived from Bayern Munich.
It is a difficult window to judge really. They got rid of some of their deadwood for free and cleared the wage bill. They brought in some young players, with one eye to the future, but also players who can fit into their team now. All in all, nothing to shout about, but a decent window nonetheless.
Things were not going too badly for Vieira in the first half of the season. As the teams broke up for the World Cup, Crystal Palace sat in 11th, 6 points above the bottom 3.
It was after the World Cup that was the issue for Vieira and Crystal Palace. He recorded just 1 win in 13 games, a run which led them dangerously close, points-wise, to the bottom 3. The board decided enough was enough, and Vieira lost his job on the 17th of March.
Paddy McCarthy filled in as caretaker manager before a permanent manager was brought in, as he oversaw a 4-1 loss away against Arsenal.
The board decided to bring back a popular and familiar name to the club, Roy Hodgson. Having previously managed at the club, he returned as a popular choice with the fans, but outside of the club, many thought, including myself, that it was a terrible decision.
Roy Hodgson proved his doubters wrong, as he registered 5 wins and 3 draws out of his 10 games in charge, finishing the season in emphatic style, whilst recording some impressive, high-scoring wins, and delivering entertaining, attacking football.
It was a brilliant decision in the end by the board. I do not think anyone could have predicted that Hodgson would have done such a good job, but he saved Crystal Palace in the end, as without him they looked like they were going down.
The key game for me has to be Crystal Palace’s 2-1 win against relegation rivals Leicester in Hodgson’s first game in charge. It completely turned their season around and gave them the confidence to go on that end-of-season run to ensure their survival.
It was a very good performance by Crystal Palace. They limited Leicester to near nothing, they looked good on the ball and attacked at every opportunity. After the sides went into halftime at 0-0, Leicester took the lead shortly after through Pereira.
Palace continued to push, and registered 31 shots, with just 9 of those on targets, in what was a brilliant attacking display, and they were rewarded for it. 3 minutes after Leicester took the lead, Iversen scored an unfortunate own goal to level the scores.Embed from Getty Images
Crystal Palace did not let up, but they were made to wait extremely late for any reward. Just as the game looked like it was heading towards a draw, Jean-Philippe Mateta scored in the 94th minute, to give Palace a well-deserved victory, and a much-needed 3 points.
This gave them the confidence to go on, continue attacking teams, and continue scoring goals, and it showed, as in their next game, away against Leeds, they won 5-1. Hodgson instilled the belief in them, and that Leicester’s result gave them the confidence to continue on.
Crystal Palace entered the Carabao Cup in the second round and got handed a relatively straightforward tie away against League One opposition Oxford United. Despite the relatively easy fixture, Palace were made to wait until the 71st minute to take the lead, through Edouard, and MilIvojevic made sure of the result in the 90th minute, netting from the spot.
Palace went through to the third round after winning 2-0 and got given another away game, this time against fellow Premier League side Newcastle. After a rather drab game, the tie went to penalties, where Palace ended up losing 3-2, resulting in them getting knockout out of the competition.
Crystal Palace’s FA Cup run was even more disappointing than their Carabao Cup one. They entered in the third round, with a game against fellow Premier League side Southampton, at home.
It got off to a good start when Edouard opened the scoring for Palace after 14 minutes. James Ward-Prowse equalised before halftime, as the sides went in level at 1-1. The game settled itself in the 68th minute, as Adam Armstrong found the back of the net for the visitors, knocking out Palace in the first round.
Overall, Crystal Palace will be happy that they are playing in the Premier League next season, but they need to start pushing on. Teams like Brighton, Brentford and Fulham have all come up from The Championship and have had some brilliant seasons.
Brighton will be in Europe next season, Brentford was not far off this season, West Ham tasted European glory this year, and yet Crystal Palace constantly finds themselves finishing mid-table every season.
They have a good, capable team for the Premier League. With a bit of investment, in the right areas and the right players, they could easily challenge for one of the domestic trophies or for a European spot.
It has been a rather disappointing season for them though. To be struggling for so long, and getting knocked out of both cup competitions so early, it must have let the fans down. Hopefully, they have a much better season next year.