Tag Archives: Crystal Palace

Steven Gerrard and Patrick Vieira can show us what the future of the Premier League looks like

This weekend will see a legendary Premier League midfield battle take place on the touchline as Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa take on Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace.

Both men are in their first Premier League jobs as manager after taking over in the summer and during the most recent international break respectively, showing just how far the league has come as a spectacle.

During their respective playing careers, there weren’t many better than them in their midfield roles but now as coaches they are trying to carve a whole new legacy that can help them stand out.

Since taking over at Selhurst Park in the summer, Vieira has overseen a complete overhaul of playing style and ethos at the club.

From a team that was set up to defend their box and counter through Wilfried Zaha under Roy Hodgson for years, they are now a team that look to be brave in possession and create their own chances rather than just trying to capitalise on opponent’s mistakes.

They have a young squad that are composed and offensive minded, while defensively they look as solid as they have in the past.

Conor Gallagher of Crystal Palace speaks with Patrick Vieira, Manager of Crystal Palace during the Premier League match between Manchester City and...

Gerrard has made a name for himself in the Scottish Premiership with Rangers, helping to end Celtic’s dominance and earning them their first league title in ten years.

He plays attacking football, with an emphasis on control and speed while he also trusts youth if he deems them good enough.

For both, it’s an ode to the way they played the game themselves. Both love a powerful midfield with speed in attack and defenders who defend first and foremost. It’s also a blueprint to players of that era in the Premier League who are looking to move into coaching and management.

Playing in that era of football had a magical feeling, as technique and technology had more of a place than just passion and fitness. It’s likely that a lot of players from that era in the Premier League will see the game in a similar light, especially those who had success like these did.

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard looks on during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Brighton & Hove Albion at Villa Park on November...

The more we see former players move into management, with the likes of Wayne Rooney, Scott Parker and Frank Lampard already involved it could lead to seeing a reincarnation of the old style of play with the new advancements tweaked in.

If Gerrard is able to continue his successful managerial spell with Villa and Vieira can continue the good job he has done at Palace so far, fellow ex-pros will see the benefits too and be more inclined to try and implement their way of playing onto their teams.

That can only be a good thing with the way football is improving, and that means fans will get a show every week no matter the fixture happening in the stadium.

Patrick Vieira continues his brilliant job at Crystal Palace with draw at Arsenal

Patrick Vieira’s appointment at Crystal Palace in the summer was one that was met with plenty of intrigue and praise by fans and media alike.

After Roy Hodgson’s exit at the end of his contract, the Frenchman was brought in for just his third senior role in management after spells with New York FC and Nice in Ligue 1 where he had mixed success.

He was tasked with completely rebuilding the squad after a host of first-team exits and was given the keys to overhaul the style of play in the side.

The former Arsenal captain signed Marc Guehi permanently and Conor Gallagher on loan from Chelsea, Odsonne Edouard from Celtic, Joachim Andersen from Lyon, Michael Olise from Reading and Will Hughes from Watford to bolster his options.

He’s overseen a change of style from a rigid defensive unit where the entire attacking outlet centred around Wilfried Zaha supplying some magic and everyone else trying their best to be hard to beat.

Instead now, Palace are able to share the load with attacking talent and also control games with possession.

That was evident in their trip to The Emirates on Monday night in the Premier League, as they left with a point and 54% possession of the ball after an exciting 2-2 draw.

Patrick Vieira, Manager of Crystal Palace speaks to Odsonne Edouard and James McArthur of Crystal Palace during the Premier League match between...

Arsenal took the lead through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, before goals from Christian Benteke and Edouard gave Palace a well deserved lead. Vieira’s side looked to keep the ball to see the game out until the final 5 minutes where they sat back to soak up pressure, only for Alexandre Lacazette to equalise in the 95th minute.

It was a blow for the boss and the visiting team, but it was a sign of the progress that the club have made in a short space of time.

They’re still difficult to beat, with only two defeats so far but they’re still trying to figure out getting wins over the line with just the sole win so far. Five draws show that they’re still figuring it all out.

But Vieira seems to have bought in to the Crystal Palace way. The fans love him, the players love him and he’s seeing progress with each and every game.

Exciting times if you’re an Eagle…

Frank Lampard top candidate for Crystal Palace job

Crystal Palace have reportedly made Frank Lampard the number one candidate for their manager’s job with Roy Hodgson set to leave the club this summer.

Former England manager Hodgson turns 74 this post-season and his contract is set to expire at the end of the season after four seasons at the club. There has been plenty of speculation about whether he would renew once again, and while there has been no official confirmation either way yet it seems that the club are making their move for a new direction.

Hodgson told Sky Sports after their 3-1 defeat to Southampton on Tuesday night that he would make an announcement on his future “when he feels the time is right and not before,” which points to the former Inter and Liverpool manager leaving.

After what many would call a successful spell at the club, fans believe it is time to move on from his old-school ways and look to a more progressive coach.

The club previously attempted this when they hired Frank De Boer to take over, but he lost all seven of his games in charge without scoring a goal and was swiftly replaced by Hodgson.

But as Palace continue to have some excellent attacking talent in their squad such as Wilfried Zaha and Eberechi Eze, the south London club should begin to look at climbing into the top half of the table rather than just settling for avoiding relegation.

According to former striker Clinton Morrison on Sky, he claims “for a fact” that the club will be looking to go in a younger direction on the pitch from next season with 11 senior players seeing their contract expire this summer.

While it’s not expected they will all leave, the suggestion from The Telegraph is that former Chelsea manager Lampard could be approached about the job and given the final say on which players he keeps and which he lets go.

Lampard did relatively well with young players at Stamford Bridge, and did a similar role at Derby before that where he trusted youth and gave them plenty of opportunities to come into a first-team role.

It’s possible he could look to use those connections in west London to boost a Palace side that is one of the oldest in the division and needs strengthening.

But Lampard would be a good option for Palace to bring in as manager after so long under Hodgson. As good as he is, Roy’s priority is always to not lose the game and he sets teams up in such a way that they really rely on moments of individual brilliance to get points.

If Lampard is to take over he’ll want assurances of getting time to make sure he can get it right, but also time to implement an attacking style and to ensure he can get the right players. It gives him a chance to repair his reputation in the Premier League with a pretty steady team where there is plenty of room for growth and improvement.

For Palace it would show a positive mentality to improve and please their fans, while the players would likely be happy to work under a big name like Chelsea’s all-time top goalscorer.

It seems to be a move that would suit all parties, so I’ll continue to look on with interest to see how it unfolds.

Raphinha continues to shine for Leeds as they move into top half

Leeds moved into the top half of the Premier League with a tenth win of the season thanks to a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace at Elland Road, with Raphinha shining once again.

Marcelo Bielsa’s side took the lead after just three minutes after a high press saw them win the ball back quickly before Jack Harrison smashed the ball past the goalkeeper via a deflection off Gary Cahill.

Leeds dominated the ball and the game from there on in and secured a second goal in the second half as Raphinha raced through on goal and saw his shot saved by Vicente Guaita, only for Patrick Bamford to tap in the rebound and seal the three points.

It was a top all round performance from the Yorkshire side, who moved into the top half with a victory.

It was once again the performance of the Brazilian summer signing from Rennes that caught the eye though, as he stood out among his peers as the best player on the pitch once again.

His intensity on and off the ball caused Palace problems all night, while his pace, agility and skill is what Leeds relied on a lot throughout the night. A ridiculous bit of skill in the first half completely embarrassed Gary Cahill and caused the former Premier League and Champions League winner to drag him to the ground and be booked.

A £17m signing from Ligue 1, Raphinha has made an instant impact in the Premier League and many fans are wondering how some of the top clubs were scouring the French league and failed to take a look at him.

In fact, so were Leeds’ players themselves as Patrick Bamford revealed in his post-match interview with Sky Sports.

“Raphinha is brilliant. To be honest he’s been a steal for Leeds, I’m surprised. As soon as he came in, we saw him in training, you know sometimes with players whether they’re good or top class, and he really was. He stood out straight away, so I’m surprised that bigger teams, more established Premier League teams I should say, haven’t taken a punt on him because he really is something special and he’s still young.”

When you take into consideration that Arsenal signed Nicolas Pepe from Ligue 1 just a year prior for £72m and that Manchester United were pursuing Jadon Sancho for the best part of a year since they both needed a right winger, it’s crazy to think neither of them came across the 24-year-old.

If they did and they passed up on the opportunity to sign him then you have to question their scouting departments considering how well he has taken to England’s top flight.

As for Leeds, they seem to have settled a bit more defensively from earlier in the season with their man to man marking all over the pitch. They’ve learnt to manage games a bit more, especially late on and are picking up points regularly.

They’ve scored 38 goals this season but they’ve also conceded the same amount and with a few more tweaks defensively, including cutting out costly individual errors, they could be in with a shout of pushing further up the table in the final stretch of the season.

Raphinha is stealing the show right now and don’t be surprised to see a few bigger clubs taking a closer look at him come the summer transfer window.

Said Benrahma: What’s His Best Move?

Even though the transfer window closed for Europe last week, Said Benrahma is still hopeful of a move this summer.

The Brentford winger was in inspired form last season as he led the West London side to the playoff final, where they were beaten by Fulham. He was linked with a move away all summer, but as the season began he was still a member of the Bees’ squad.

He didn’t feature for the team at first, with links to the likes of Crystal Palace, West Ham, Fulham and Aston Villa continuing but when he did return to the side he reminded everyone of his quality with a stunning solo goal against Fulham in the Carabao Cup.

A move to West Ham was reportedly close after the two clubs agreed a fee of around £25million but reports on Monday claim the deal could be close to falling through over personal terms. West Ham are set to move on to Josh King now, so what is Benrahma’s next move? Better yet, what is his best move?

The Algerian is clearly too good to be playing Championship football at this point in his career. A Premier League move at this point is definitely needed, with several interested parties.

Fulham are in desperate need of a player of his quality. A natural talent with an eye for goal and a quality of pass is hard to come by and Fulham have struggled massively so far in the Premier League for any kind of attacking threat. With Aleksandar Mitrovic up front, they have a proven goalscorer but without service he is rendered completely useless. For Benrahma though, Fulham isn’t a great move. They are likely to go straight back down to the Championship because the defensive issues haven’t been sorted during the window and the manager isn’t showing any signs of ability to improve the situation. With Parker just signing a new contract too, it’s highly unlikely that he leaves mid-season and therefore more likely Fulham go straight down.

Aston Villa is another tough move for Benrahma. With captain and talisman Jack Grealish occupying that left wing role, Benrahma’s role would likely become as more of an option. With Ross Barkley also joining on loan, the likelihood of Villa boss Dean Smith changing his formation to get Jack into a No.10 role is highly unlikely. While a link up with former teammate Ollie Watkins may be appealing, if he wants to push on to the next level he needs to be playing regularly and he likely wouldn’t be doing that at Villa Park.

Crystal Palace could potentially be his best option. With Wilfried Zaha, Michy Batshuayi and Eberechi Eze making up three quarters of the front-line, Benrahma could be the perfect shout to come in and take Andros Townsend’s position in the side. Zaha is naturally a left-winger but has often found himself playing as a striker in Roy Hodgson’s 4-4-2 formation and performing well. Eze has stepped into the left wing role but as a player who excels in a central role, whether he’s coming from the left or the right likely won’t matter too much to him. Bringing Benrahma into the side adds an extra goal threat and also takes some of the burden off of Zaha. He’d be playing in a side that is established in the Premier League, has space for him and with quality players that will help get the best out of each other.

At £25million, Benrahma is a deal that the majority of the Premier League should probably have taken a look at. As it stands though, it’s likely to be a London side that take him once again and he will have to work his way up the league table too.

Crystal Palace: Are Michy Batshuayi and Ebere Eze Enough To Keep Wilfried Zaha?

At the start of the summer, it was a familiar story for Crystal Palace fans. They had survived relegation, they needed to strengthen the squad and talisman Wilfried Zaha wanted to leave.

Zaha was linked with several clubs including Everton, Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain with Palace valuing the Ivorian at around £70million. With the current pandemic in the world, nobody has even come close to matching that fee and so far Zaha looks set to stay at Selhurst Park.

While Crystal Palace look to convince their star man to stay at the club, they’ve been adding to their squad. No first-team players have left the team but they have added two excellent attackers to help lift some of the burden off their star winger.

Ebere Eze has signed from Queens Park Rangers for around £20million, after impressing as one of the best players in the Championship last season. There was interest from several other clubs, but Eze revealed the lure of returning to south London was enough to bring him to Palace. In addition to Eze, Palace announced the return of Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi on a season-long loan deal.

Batshuayi signed on a short-term loan back in January 2019 and scored five goals in nine games for the club to help them avoid relegation. During his time in England, he hasn’t been able to nail down a regular role at Chelsea but has done well on loan spells at Dortmund, Valencia and Palace. It’s hoped that with a full-season at the club, he can prove to be the goalscorer they have craved for a while now.

With Palace bulking up their attacking options, it can be look at in two different ways. They’re either spending the Zaha money before they get it, with the knowledge that he will leave prior to the end of the window. If not that, they’re trying to prove their ambition to him by bringing in better players to help him and progress the side away from relegation battles.

While they’ll never get to the position Zaha wants to be in, one of winning titles and competing in Europe, it’s a big leap from what he’s been doing in the last few years. At 27, Zaha knows he is entering his prime and can’t afford another season like last year where he was way below par in terms of goals and assists.

Ultimately, I don’t think Crystal Palace’s position changes too much. These signings will in no doubt leave them confident they can survive if Zaha was to leave the club, but it also strengthens them massively even if he stays. Financially they’re not in a position where they needed to sell him to sign anyone and even then Batshuayi is only a loan deal.

If someone comes in for Zaha and he agitates for the moves, which seems likely considering Hodgson’s comments recently about him really wanting to leave, then the £70million fee likely reduces somewhat. Whether it reduces enough to convince someone to spend big on him is a different story entirely but Palace are prepared either way.

Where Will Wilfried Zaha End Up?

Premier League season over, transfer window open, Wilfried Zaha wants to leave Crystal Palace. Nothing new there then.

The Ivory Coast international has been linked with a move away from Selhurst Park every summer for as long as I can remember, but he’s always been priced out of a move elsewhere because he manages to keep Palace in the Premier League.

A move to Tottenham was denied when they wouldn’t meet the asking price, while Everton had a £70million bid rejected last summer because Roy Hodgson’s side were holding out for £80million. Arsenal were also interested but instead opted for Nicolas Pepe for a similar fee but one they could pay in instalments instead of cash up front to a fellow Premier League side.

After once again helping Palace stay in England’s top division, Roy Hodgson revealed immediately after the game that Zaha has once again made it clear to the club that he wants to leave South London.

It’s obviously affected him because his form in the last few weeks has really been quite poor considering what he is capable of doing.

“It’s a dilemma for the club and a dilemma for him if he is so set on leaving. If he feels he just does not want to be with us any more, that would be sad.

“We still like him very much; we can’t make him like us. This is a situation that only he and the club can sort out. I don’t have an answer.

Reports suggest that Palace will maintain their £80million asking price, but with the COVID-19 pandemic still rife across the world, it’s highly expected that transfer fees will radically drop from the norm this summer.

Crystal Palace v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League : News Photo
Could Zaha and Kane be teammates next season?

Plenty of clubs, including Palace, have seen a huge drop in income due to the lack of fans at games. This means clubs need money from player sales but also that clubs have less to spend to bring those players in. Top clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona have already publicly ruled out big money signings this summer, citing the fact they had to ask players to take a pay-cut as the main reason.

If Zaha is as intent on leaving the club this summer as Hodgson says he is, there is no way on Earth they fetch £80million for him. He’s now 27 years old and wants to challenge for titles and play in Europe. Crystal Palace cannot offer him that and he has been as professional as possible during his time at the club despite never being allowed to leave.

Borussia Dortmund could look to bring him in as a replacement for Manchester United target Jadon Sancho, although they are also linked with Jeremie Boga who fits their model of signing younger players much more than a big-money signing like Zaha does. Another option for the former Manchester United man is if Tottenham reignite their interest.

Jose Mourinho was able to bring in Steven Bergwijn in January to boost their attacking options after losing Christian Eriksen. With Heung-Min Son, Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura also options for Spurs, Zaha would likely not be an immediate option for strengthening. However long-standing interest and the fact that Lamela is now 28 years old and has two years left on his contract. Zaha would be an upgrade on Lamela and it means the Argentine could look to move on.

Everton could also look to reignite their interest but with Carlo Ancelotti now in charge, it’s unknown if he is still a target for the Goodison Park side.

The reality is that options are slim for Zaha this summer, but it’s the perfect time for him to leave. He’s kept Palace safe, they need the extra funds after this pandemic and clubs will be willing to sign him for a lower fee than what Palace initially demanded for him.

It’s just a case of who wants him the most now.