After a 14th place finish in 19-20 season, Crystal Palace are back in action as they welcome Southampton at Selhurst Park in their first 2020/21 Premier League fixture.
This will be Palace’s eighth consecutive season in the English top flight which is their longest ever spell. After finishing just nine points ahead of the relegation places last year, Roy Hodgson will be assigned a mammoth task of finishing in the top half of the table.
Crystal Palace are one of the favorites to go down this year as Nathan Ferguson and highly talented Eberechi Eze are the only signings made by the club and they have a squad consisting of players who look past their personal twilight.
Former England manager Roy Hodgson, who is 73 now, is probably the biggest factor that has kept such an average squad in the Premier League. All their rivals have made high profile signings but COVID-19 has prevented them to spend a large sum on bringing players.
Here’s how they could lineup in the upcoming season opener against Southampton:
Vicente Guaita was probably the club’s most important player last season. He kept ten clean-sheets in a side that had a weak defensive personnel. xG predicted that the Eagles should let in 57 goals instead of 50 they conceded and it was all down to Guaita that they ensured their survival so he will definitively start in goal.
Patrick van Aanholt and Gary Cahill are out of the fixture owing to injuries issues of last season, so Kelly and Scott Dann will make the first starting XI of the season. Joel Ward will take up the right-back slot while Mitchell takes the left-flank.
Club captain Luka Milivojević is out of the match owing to personal reasons, so Koyate and McArthur will form the midfield double pivot. Star player Wilfried Zaha wants out of the club but a lack of potential suitors mean he is set to stay at Selhurst Park for one more season playing at left-wing position.
Crystal Palace’s Player of the Season Jordan Ayew will be tasked with scoring duties ahead of Christian Benteke as the Eagles will hope to continue their long stay in Premier League and Chelsea’s loan arrival Michy Batshuayi will start this game.
Crystal Palace’s predicted XI: Guaita; Ward, Kelly, Dann, Mitchell; Zaha, Kouyaté, McArthur, Schlupp; Batshuayi, Ayew