Is this how Crystal Palace will line up against West Brom?
The new season approaches and Crystal Palace face a relatively evenly matched West Brom outfit. Alan Pardew has spent on additions to the squad to strengthen in key areas and the new signings will be pushing for inclusion in the first team. They are, however, likely to find it difficult to oust the old guard who have served Palace so well in recent seasons.
Here is my predicted line up for the opening game of the season:
Goalkeeper – Wayne Hennessey
Hennessey just gets the nod to start in my opinion after his good form last season and a memorable Euro 2016 campaign with Wales. He is likely to be competing with Steve Mandanda for the number one jersey throughout the season and will have to be performing at his best to keep the former Marseille stopper out of the team.
Mandanda may be in the latter part of his career but is unlikely to settle for being a back up keeper. Goalkeeping duties likely to be shared throughout the campaign.
Left Back/Right Back – Pape Souare/Joel Ward
Both will be expected to make the forward runs fans have grown accustomed to. They are both good solid, hard working full-backs who will provide extra options with overlapping runs to complement the movement of the Palace wide men.
Solid and dependable at the back, alongside Dann and Delaney they could shut out many teams this season, if they can continue to work as a strong team unit. Their consistency could help propel Palace up the table to a top half finish and challenging for European qualification.
Centre-backs – Scott Dann and Damien Delaney
Dann and Delaney should surely continue at the heart of the defence with their often heroic brand of defending. Two very good headers of the ball, they will again be an imposing presence at set pieces for any opposition defenders.
James Tomkins has moved in from West Ham for approximately £10 million, though the potential selection headache Pardew will face will be delayed until after the West Brom game as Tomkins recovers from a muscle imjury
Central Midfield – James McArthur and Yonas Cabaye
Both are hard working, experienced players who will battle it out in the middle of the park. Cabaye will be trying as ever to exert his dominance and unlock the opposition defences. McArthur just gets the nod ahead of Joe Ledley, who could still be suffering a bit of tiredness after his involvement with Wales for Euro 2016.
Left Wing – Andros Townsend
After a move to the North East and relegation with Newcastle, Townsend could start to show he is more than just future potential after moving back to the capital. A wide-man in the oldest sense of wing play he loves to take his man on and beat him with skill and pace.
With hard work on his final ball he could prove to be a bargain for Pardew if he can get him back to his best. Two footed, skillful and direct. He could quickly become a fans favourite.
Right Wing – Wilfried Zaha
Without wanting to sound repetitive, Zaha is also a player oozing potential, last season he showed glimpses of the player he could become. If he continues working hard for himself and the team; while adding to his goals and assists output, an England call up could be on the cards in the not too distant future.
Attacking Midfield – Jonathan Williams
With bags of potential and a positive showing at the Euros, admittedly mainly used as a substitute during the tournament, Williams will be determined to prove he is ready and capable to start being more of an authority in the first team. With pace, vision, a good range of passing and the ability to arrive late in the box on the back of a well timed run, he can start to deliver this season and emerge as more than a young Aaron Ramsey.
Centre Forward – Connor Wickham
Connor Wickham will be expected to use his physical presence to battle it out with the West Brom back line. Able to play as a lone striker or alongside another forward, Wickham could find himself a regular goal scorer and vastly improve last season’s return as he looks to capitalise on the creative output of the likes of Townsend, Zaha, Bolasie, Puncheon, Williams and Cabaye.
Featured Image: All rights reserved by @sebastien1906
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