Palace’s survival could depend on their strikers
Having secured promotion to the Premier League, Crystal Palace are under no illusions regarding the forthcoming season. It will be an incredibly tough season ahead and survival is the primary and only objective. Palace’s manager Ian Holloway has spent the summer strengthening his squad and there has been a particular emphasis on bringing in goal scorers.
August 16th, 2013
There was a serious setback at the end of last season when top goal scorer Glenn Murray tore his cruciate ligament during the semi-final playoff against Brighton. Murray’s goals had taken the club into the playoffs but his loss was a huge blow for the club. Following a summer of recuperation he should return to the team in the coming months, but will need a while to return to full fitness and form.
In the meantime Holloway has added Marouane Chamakh, Dwight Gayle and Kevin Phillips to bolster his options. Over the last couple of seasons the sides who have struggled to remain in the Premier League have really struggled for goals and it is an essential part of survival, especially towards the end of the season.
The signing of Phillips will add much-needed experience to the remainder of the squad and will also allow the younger players to learn from him. It is getting on for 20 years now since Phillips first burst onto the scene during a wonderful spell at Watford. He has spent a significant part of his career playing in the Premier League, and the help he can offer new players such as Gayle will be invaluable.
Holloway’s signing of Gayle represents somewhat of a gamble considering he has only had a year or two playing in the league. He is someone you could describe as raw and it will be fascinating to see how he acclimatises to the demands of the Premier League. It has been a rapid rise for the 23-year old over the last year or so, and his adaptation to the demands of a more physical and technically superior league will test him to his limits.
Last season QPR failed to offer a regular goal threat and as such struggled all season. It was only once their fate was almost inevitable that they finally added Loic Remy and a couple of others but the damage was done already. Palace’s fixture list has been relatively kind so a good start will be essential. If they can organise themselves in defence then their attacking proficiency should go a long way to deciding their fate.
The club have recruited well this summer but are aware that they face a very tough season ahead. Much will depend on Ian Holloway’s ability to keep the squad motivated and positive but the goal scorers in the side will have to shoulder a fair amount of responsibility for their future.