After what seemed like an eternity, Crystal Palace have finally appointed their new manager for the 2021-22 Premier League season. After rumoured interest in former Wolverhampton Wanderers boss Nuno Espirito Santo and former Borussia Dortmund manager Lucien Favre, the board announced that Patrick Vieira would take over from Roy Hodgson this weekend.
After the club's history with previous managers, Crystal Palace fans have got real justification to be worried over the 45-year-old Frenchman's appointment. The former Arsenal legend has never managed an English club before, compared to the wealthy experience Hodgson had at clubs such as Blackburn Rovers, Fulham, Liverpool, West Brom and of course, his stint at Selhurst Park.
This sort of appointment might leave a bad taste in the mouth of Palace fans, taking them back to 2017, when Sam Allardyce was replaced by Frank de Boer. De Boer was brought in with no Premier League experience and was sacked after five games with the London club. His managerial tenure still remains as one of the shortest in Premier League history, with the Dutch coach only being in charge for 77 days.
However, Crystal Palace fans should give Vieira the time to settle as the coach has shown real promise in the previous clubs he has managed and his playing style looks like it could really fit the players at the club.
Here are the reasons that Patrick Vieira is the right man to bring Crystal Palace forward:
What does Patrick Vieira's managerial career look like?
When Patrick Vieira retired from football in 2011, playing for Manchester City, he accepted a role as the club's Football Development Executive with their academy before taking a managing role for the club's reserve side.
At the start of 2016, Vieira was appointed the new head coach of New York City FC. Pundits consider his time at the club to be very successful, taking the American club from 17th to 4th in his first season in 2016 to 2nd place in 2017. The former midfielder also led the club to their first-ever playoff appearance in his first full campaign.
This performance in the MLS really shows the potential that Vieira has, bringing current Leeds United player Jack Harrison to the club as his first signing. This shows real intent for his recruitment ahead of the Crystal Palace summer transfer window.
During his third season at the club, Vieira was approached by Ligue 1 side Nice over the manager role in 2018. He took the club to seventh place in his first season in charge, leading the club one position higher in the league than the previous boss, Lucien Favre, did in the previous season. He was sacked in 2020 after the club finished bottom of their Europa League group and five losses in a row in all competitions.
What is his playing style?
Based on his previous jobs, he is likely to deploy a 4-1-4-1 formation for The Eagles. Vieira instructs his players to keep a strong, defensive performance, and encourages them to be comfortable in possession and gives his side the confidence to move the ball forward at speed.
Getting the ball forward at this speed is useful when it comes to disrupting their opponent's shape and formation. This works alongside the wingers, who are likely to bomb forward with pace through the wings and down the middle. This suggests Wilfried Zaha could really flourish under the management of Vieira, and young impressionable midfielders such as Eberechi Eze are likely to learn a lot from the legendary midfielder.
There is also a real emphasis on having a strong central defensive midfielder at the club, with Luka Milivojevic looking to be that man for Vieira's new club.
The real question for Vieira's side is: How will he cope with the 11 Crystal Palace players that are out of contract?
Players such as Andros Townsend might prove to be really important players that could influence Crystal Palace's season due to the experience he has in the league and what he can bring in quality with his dribbling prowess and desire to play the ball forward.
This situation will give Patrick Vieira a lot to think about when the transfer window rolls around this summer.
How successful is Vieira likely to be?
The manager hasn't come into the best situation as aforementioned. Eleven first-team player's contracts expired in the summer, and only 18 players are left, including players such as Mamadou Sakho and Eberechi Eze - who have lengthy injuries and work permit issues.
The team looks slightly depleted with huge players such as Jeffrey Schlupp and Patrick Van Aanholt, who has just come back from the Euros with the Dutch national team, being out of favour at Selhurst Park also.
Vieira will have to take a long look at these players and add huge players to the squad through transfers to keep the side in the Premier League.
The influence he is likely to have on the youth teams could prove to be really important with all these out of contract players. Whilst Vieira was in charge of the Manchester City reserve team - he aimed to "bridge a massive gap" from reserve level to top level.
Crystal Palace's academy has been exceptional, with the U23s winning the PL2 playoffs and the U18s finishing second in their league last season.
Players such as David Omilabu, who has been impressive at the U18 level, could be likely to make appearances for the first team due to the lack of players that are in the first team. The inclusion of Tyrick Mitchell being brought up from the academy is likely to show Vieira that these academy players can make an impact.
Jesurun Rak-Sakyi is another player that signed a professional contract at the club, and the young left winger has had appearances on the bench for Palace last season in the league.
With Vieira having experience at the youth and professional level, he will be able to bring them into the first-team squad gradually, and his experience at bigger clubs such as Nice shows that he has got the ability to bring a team forward.
If the Crystal Palace board can give the French manager the financial support that he needs, Palace fans are likely to be pleasantly surprised with what Vieira can bring to this team.