Roy Hodgson’s side is all but mathematically safe. However, a dreadful 4-1 defeat to Chelsea on Saturday helped to raise doubts over the current state of the club and the direction that they are heading in. As a result, ‘four questions Crystal Palace need to answer this summer’ could inevitably lead to a long and tiresome debate.
Here, though, are the four most important, ranging from a possible change in manager to the best midfield trio.
Four Questions Crystal Palace Need to Address This Summer
Is Roy Hodgson Going to be in Charge Next Season?
Perhaps the most important question of them all, and the one that is on everyone’s lips. Hodgson’s contract expires at the end of the season, and it is yet to be announced whether he will be in charge next season.
The future of the 73-year-old needs to be resolved sooner rather than later. While he brings the almost near certainty of Premier League safety, he is not the man for the long-term question of the club. The former England manager has brought safety and stability to Selhurst Park in a time of global uncertainty, but there could be no better time to make a change than now.
If it not Hodgson, then who? That is a question in itself as there have been several names linked. Sean Dyche and Eddie Howe appear to be the main names considered, according to Joe Doyle of Football.London, but the list of potential candidates continues to grow.
However, there could be circumstances that means that the current Palace boss remains in charge for one more season. Palace lost £58 million in months leading up to July 2020, according to their latest accounts.
That figure could be much worse in their next set accounts due to the lack of fans and other income sources, meaning Hodgson could steer the ship further.
What Formation Suits Palace Best?
4-4-2? 4-3-3? 4-2-3-1? What is the best formation for Palace to get the best out of their most important players?
Of course, there are pros and cons to all three, but it is 4-2-3-1 that Palace should work with next season.
Although 4-4-2 has worked in their favour at times this season, there is arguably a lack of balance. Wilfried Zaha has been paired with Christian Benteke on the left side of a front two, with Eberechi Eze on the left of a midfield four.
With their two most threatening attacking players on the same side, it has led to a compacted left side, with 44% of their attacks coming from that side of the pitch.
As a result, a 4-2-3-1 formation could resolve this issue. Eze would operate in behind the striker in his more natural position, while Zaha, should he remain in South London, would return to the left-hand side.
Who Will be the Leading Man in Attack?
Since being given his chance in December, Christian Benteke has surprised the majority of fans. He has registered six goals in 24 appearances so far this season and is an important figure in attack.
However, he is one of several players out of contract this summer and there is yet to be a resolution to his future, meaning he may not be at the club next season.
It is no secret that Palace are looking to reduce the average of their squad. At the age of 30, the Belgian could be one of the players that is shown the exit door.
This would mean that the Eagles will be in need of a new addition in attack. Jean-Philippe Mateta, who joined in January, could be the man to replace the Belgian, but regardless of that, Palace will need at least one striker in the summer.
Where is Going to be Prioritised in the Transfer Window?
A rebuild of the squad has long been talked about. Financial constraints due to the Coronavirus pandemic will mean that Palace will have to be savvy in the transfer market this summer.
Where, then, should Palace prioritise? A striker, in particular a regular goalscoring one, is likely to be high on the wishlist of the fans.
Elsewhere, you could argue that Palace are in need of another winger, with Andros Townsend struggling for form. A left-back could also be needed, with Patrick van Aanholt seemingly on his way out of South London.
However, it could be at centre-back where reinforcements are most necessary. All of Palace’s current cohort are over the age of 30, and although the experience of someone such as Gary Cahill has proved beneficial, it could hamper them next season.
Coupled with the regular injuries suffered by James Tomkins, and the Eagles may look for new recruits come the summer.
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