EPL Season Preview: Crystal Palace

Wilfried Zaha2012
Wilfried Zaha had a 6.8% shot conversion rate in the 2015-16 season, down from 10% the previous seasonCoach: Alan Pardew
Coach: Alan Pardew

2015/16 Finish: 15

2016/17 Preseason Ranking: 13

Sportify Rating: 1507

2015/16 Wagebill: £64M (higher than Leicester in 2015 season for perspective)

Stadium Capacity: 26,309 at Selhurst Park

Departures: Emmanuel Adebayor (released); Reise Allassani (released); Jerome Binnom-Williams (Peterborough); Marouane Chamakh (released); Connor Dymond (released); Dwight Gayle (Newcastle United); Jake Gray (Luton); David Gregory (Cambridge); Brede Hangeland (released); Chris Kettings (Oldham); Adrian Mariappa (released); Alex McCarthy (Southampton); Christian Scales (released)

Arrivals: Steve Mandanda (Marseille); James Tomkins (West Ham); Andros Townsend (Newcastle United)

The good: Chance creation

With speedsters like Wilfried Zaha, Yannick Bolasie and recent signing Andros Townsend on the wings and a pass master like Yohan Cabaye in central midfield, Palace have the means to create chances. Their 42.7 xG last year was good for 12th best; however, the problem was that it only led to 39 goals, and their -3.7 goals-xG was the 4th worst tally last season.

Crystal Palace created more chances than Manchester United last season, but had 15 fewer goals to show for it.
Crystal Palace created more chances than Manchester United last season, but had 15 fewer goals to show for it.

The bad: Inconsistency

At the halfway point of last season, Palace were in 5th place having conceded only 16 goals in 19 games (T-2nd at the time) in the midst of a six game unbeaten run, but when the calendar switched to 2016, the wheels came off. Palace lost their first five games in 2016 and nine of their first 11 en route to taking only 11 points in the 2nd half of the season (2nd least in the league) while conceding 35 goals (3rd worst).

 

Crystal Palace's performance across all aspects suffered in the second half of the season.
Crystal Palace’s performance across all aspects suffered in the second half of the season.

Bottom line

With more solid goalkeeping and a stable defense, the key question for Crystal Palace is whether they can convert the opportunities they create. They should be able to build on the last few years and solidify their place in the middle of the Premier League table.