As the season approaches, the nerves are building. The 2021/22 season is almost underway and the atmosphere amongst Palace fans is one of uncertainty.
The recruitment team, Dougie Freedman and Steve Parish have shown themselves as masters of business throughout the summer transfer window and have exceeded most people’s expectations.
Our most active window in recent times has seen the arrivals of Michael Olise, Marc Guehi, Connor Gallagher and Joachim Anderson to lift the spirits around SE25.
The Eagles’ set up and game management is going to have undergone a face lift since Patrick Vieira’s arrival in July. The addition of young signings to South London is something to get the excitement pumping.
Palace are set to start the season with a strong squad. With new signings Guehi and Anderson coming in at defence to strengthen the back line. As well as Olise and Gallagher bringing reinforcements within the midfield. However, Michael Olise is set to miss the beginning of the season with a back injury, there is no estimated return date for him to make his debut.
After a successful pre-season with victories over Watford, Reading, Ipswich and Walsall, the players should have settled into playing a new system under Vieira.
After a period of a shortage of goals from Christian Benteke, with a previous record of 5 goals in three seasons since 2017/18, the Belgium striker appears to be back on form. A total of 10 goals last season and a further 2 goals in 2 games in pre-season, the frontman appears to have regained his confidence. New manager, Vieira, has described Benteke as “one of the best if not the best in the league” at aerial attacks, as he returned from internationals to net a goal against Watford in the last pre-season fixture.
Palace face a challenging start to the season against Champions of Europe, Chelsea, at Stamford Bridge on opening weekend. This fixture is one that Palace fans feel quietly confident about following previous good performances and results. Including the notorious 2-1 win against the Blues in 2017, with a stunning Benteke chip of the keeper, Courtois.
However, after their recent UEFA Super Cup victory to add to their already incredible year, Chelsea are certainly ones to be serious competitors for the title this season. Since Thomas Tuchel’s arrival to West London, their standard of play has considerably improved. A record start for the Chelsea manager saw 13 consecutive wins from his appointment in January. Furthermore, the clubs record-breaking re-signing of Romelu Lukaku for £97.5million is a move that will only add strength and depth to their already highly achieving squad. They will be looking to dominate the table from the opening game.
The following game weeks continue to not show much mercy, with fixtures against Liverpool, Tottenham, and fierce rivals Brighton, all before the end of September.
Hopefully, early 2022 sees the return of Eberechi Eze from an achilles injury. He is someone who impressed a lot last season under Hodgson. With 4 goals and 6 assists in his first Premier League season, Eze will be looking to prove himself further upon his return later in the season.
Vieira’s side are going to have to come out fighting if they stand a chance of climbing the table this season. It is going to be difficult year but with a full return of fans to Selhurst Park, the twelfth man is back!