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Premier League team guide: Crystal Palace in the spotlight
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Leo Munro
Malcolm Ebiowei is an exciting prospect for Patrick Vieira's Crystal Palace next season
Malcolm Ebiowei is an exciting prospect for Patrick Vieira's Crystal Palace next season

A year on, Crystal Palace's bold decision to appoint former Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira as manager has paid off. 

The Eagles have transitioned from an ageing, one-dimensional side to one of the Premier League's most exciting young teams, playing an attractive brand of football. 

More of the same will be expected in 2022-23 with the South Londoners looking to crack the top half for the first time since 2015.

Last season: 12th

Vieira's revamped Palace team understandably started slowly with one win in their first nine games. 

The Eagles then shocked Manchester City at the Etihad and followed it up with victory over Wolves. 

Vieira's side showed their ability throughout the season, beating Arsenal and Manchester United in the final few weeks of the campaign.

However, inconsistency ultimately cost Palace a top-half finish as they settled in 12th.

New faces

The arrival of Cheick Doucoure from Lens has bolstered Crystal Palace's midfield
The arrival of Cheick Doucoure from Lens has bolstered Crystal Palace's midfield

It has been a case of evolution rather than revolution at Selhurst Park this summer. 

Hot prospect Malcolm Ebiowei, 18, got the ball rolling by joining on a free transfer at the end of his Derby contract but is one for the future. 

England international goalkeeper Sam Johnstone was another Bosman pick-up, joining when his West Brom deal expired. 

The most exciting acquisition though, is Malian midfielder Cheick Doucoure who joined from Lens for a reported £21million.

Potential line-up

4-2-3-1: Guaita; Clyne, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell; Doucoure, Milivojevic; Olise, Eze, Zaha; Edouard. 

This is now a Palace side packed with flair, pace and technical ability — a far cry from the days of Roy Hodgson. 

Vicente Guaita is the Eagles' undisputed No1 between the sticks with Nathaniel Clyne, Joachim Andersen, Marc Guehi and Tyrick Mitchell making up the back four. 

Summer signing Doucoure will partner Luka Milivojevic at the base of midfield to provide a steady platform. 

Ahead of them, the exciting trio of Michael Olise, Eberechi Eze and Wilfried Zaha will give defences nightmares. 

Odsonne Edouard should get the nod over Christian Benteke up front.

Star man: Wilfried Zaha

Wilfried Zaha was Crystal Palace's top scorer last season
Wilfried Zaha was Crystal Palace's top scorer last season

Zaha is a Crystal Palace legend. 

The Ivorian forward has made 430 appearances for the Eagles, bagging 83 goals in all competitions. 

Now 29, Zaha made his Palace debut in March 2010 and played 126 Championship games for the club, winning promotion in 2012-13. 

Six months before helping the South Londoners into the top flight, he was sold to Manchester United for £15m before being loaned back. 

With opportunities hard to come by at Old Trafford, he rejoined Palace in 2015 after rediscovering his best form on loan in the first half of the 2014-15 campaign. 

Since returning permanently, Zaha is a three-time Player of the Year award winner and enjoyed his best scoring season in 2021-22 by netting 15 times in all competitions.

Up-and-comer: Malcolm Ebiowei

Teenage sensation Ebiowei is the latest young talent that Vieira will look to develop. 

He was on the books of Rangers, Chelsea and Arsenal before making his breakthrough at Derby last term. 

Quick, direct and unafraid to run at defenders, Ebiowei was a rare bright spot in a dire season at Pride Park. 

The exciting attacker scored once and provided two assists for the Rams as the club were relegated to League One and it quickly became inevitable he would move on. 

After reportedly snubbing messages from new Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag to sign for the Eagles, Ebiowei will look to follow in the footsteps of new team-mates Eze and Olise — both of whom have shone since stepping up from the Championship.

The boss: Patrick Vieira

Crystal Palace impressed under Patrick Vieira last season
Crystal Palace impressed under Patrick Vieira last season

Vieira is most widely recognised as one of the most iconic midfielders in Premier League history — but he is carving out a reputation as a coach, too. 

In 2015, he was appointed as New York City manager. NYCFC improved their position in the combined MLS standings in each of Vieira's three years with the club, rising from 17th to second. 

The Frenchman then returned to Europe with Ligue 1 side Nice in 2018 but, after finishing seventh in his maiden campaign, Vieira was sacked in December 2020 after five straight defeats. 

That did not put Palace off though and, after a lengthy process that saw Lucien Favre and Nuno Espirito Santo turn the job down, Vieira signed a three-year contract in July 2021. 

Possession is at the heart of Vieira's coaching philosophy but, as Palace showed in his first season at the helm, he is unafraid to switch to a more counter-attacking style — often with impressive results.

All information correct as of 9am, July 27, 2022


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