Beating the drop is a great feat; it means a team has, by their design, retained their top-flight status and earned a fresh start, regardless of whether they underperformed by their own standards.
There was nothing unexpected about Crystal Palace’s presence in the drop zone last term.
Recent seasons have seen the Eagles’ many foibles evolve into huge problems thus creating the need to rebuild the Palace project from scratch.
They’re a team that boasts of players with the right attributes in nearly every position. Not many Premier League sides are that well stocked with talent; hence it’s fair to say Palace are the league’s biggest underachievers judging by the quality within their ranks.
Christian Benteke, Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend just to name a few, possess all the attributes required to feature in their respective positions and make Selhurst Park a fortress that even the league’s top sides would dread visiting.
Yet, they tend to remain switched off until the final lap of the Premier League race; when Selhurst Park has been conquered by almost every visiting team and relegation starts staring Palace in the face, ready to send them into the Championship along with the possibility of fading into obscurity like many of those who have faced the drop before them.
But what if Crystal Palace could maintain peak performance levels all through the season? They’d most likely make the prospect of relegation so unrealistic that it’d be irrelevant to their plans for every league campaign thus providing the hierarchy with an opportunity to set up a plan centred on perpetual progression.
But with so many mid-table sides keen on ensuring sustained growth, Palace need a solid foundation from which to launch themselves into the overcrowded fray in a bid to disassociate themselves from the lower echelons of the Premier League.
Recent seasons have seen the Eagles fail to garner any real momentum, whilst in the background, a narrator backed with the ambient sounds of a gloomy orchestra tells tales of how Crystal Palace could become so much more than a side fighting for Premier League survival.
Sam Allardyce’s sensational rescue act gave Palace another chance at life in the Premier League, what they do with it, though, depends on who they appoint to succeed Big Sam.
The Eagles are currently short of a helmsman following Big Sam’s sudden exit, but they’re already keen on appointing a new boss ahead of the summer transfer window and one manager who’s arrival is reportedly imminent is, Dutch tactician Frank de Boer.
Having recently been relieved of his duties at Inter Milan, de Boer isn’t exactly a safe bet for Crystal Palace, but if his stint at Ajax is anything to go by, he could bring about positive change to the London outfit.
His tactical advocacy of fluid football and teamwork is in line with Palace’s current group of players. He’d be able to unlock their full potential by utilising a system that will allow them to play their natural game whilst also attacking and defending as a single unit.
Crystal Palace are capable of so much more, and de Boer’s philosophy could be the key to them reaching new heights.