After 11th and 12th place finishes in his two seasons in charge at Crystal Palace, the next order of business for manager Roy Hodgson will be to lead his side into the top half of the Premier League table. The challenging aspect of it would be to do with a wantaway player in Wilfried Zaha, who happens to be the club’s best player.
Zaha was keen to push a move through to Arsenal but the move fell through because of Palace’s high asking price. Everton, too, was put off by the London club’s hard line despite the winger putting in a transfer request during the week to force a move.
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While Hodgson is happy to have Zaha for another season, he admitted that the Ivory Coast international is currently not in the best frame of mind after a fallout with the club’s owners.
“Everyone here has a good relationship with him. There’s not a problem with that. His beef is with the chairman and owners of the club because he’s wanted to leave and they haven’t received the offer that they think is sufficient to allow him to leave. He has to come to terms with that, when you sign long-term contracts you are expected to honour them and we expect him to do that,” Hodgson told Sky Sports .
It remains to be seen if Zaha, who has clocked zero pre-season minutes, will line up against Everton at home in the opening weekend.
The most significant incoming transfer done over the summer was former Chelsea center back Gary Cahill, who comes in with plenty of League and European-winning pedigree. However, the £50 million received for Aaron Wan-Bissaka hasn’t been re-invested to further strengthen the squad.
Midfielder James McCarthy completed a permanent move from Everton on deadline day but the 28-year-old’s career has hit a block after a broken leg suffered in January last year.
Striker Jordan Ayew and Christian Benteke returned poor outputs last season and the goal-scoring responsibility fell on Luka Milivojevic and Zaha. If Benteke could recover his Palace first season form, he could help push the club for a finish high up the table.
Premier League fixtures
10 - Crystal Palace v Everton
17 - Sheffield United v Crystal Palace
24 - Manchester United v Crystal Palace
31 - Crystal Palace v Aston Villa
14 - Tottenham v Crystal Palace
21 - Crystal Palace v Wolves
28 - Crystal Palace v Norwich City
5 - West Ham v Crystal Palace
20 - Crystal Palace v Manchester City
26 - Arsenal v Crystal Palace
2 - Crystal Palace v Leicester City
9 - Chelsea v Crystal Palace
23 - Crystal Palace v Liverpool
30 - Burnley v Crystal Palace
4 - Crystal Palace v Bournemouth
7 - Watford v Crystal Palace
14 - Crystal Palace v Brighton
21 - Newcastle v Crystal Palace
26 - Crystal Palace v West Ham
28 - Southampton v Crystal Palace
1 - Norwich City v Crystal Palace
11 - Crystal Palace v Arsenal
18 - Manchester City v Crystal Palace
22 - Crystal Palace v Southampton
1 - Crystal Palace v Sheffield United
8 - Everton v Crystal Palace
22 - Crystal Palace v Newcastle United
29 - Brighton v Crystal Palace
7 - Crystal Palace v Watford
14 - Bournemouth v Crystal Palace
21 - Liverpool v Crystal Palace
4 - Crystal Palace v Burnley
11 - Leicester City v Crystal Palace
18 - Crystal Palace v Chelsea
25 - Aston Villa v Crystal Palace
2 - Crystal Palace v Manchester United
9 - Wolves v Crystal Palace
17 - Crystal Palace v Tottenham
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