Patrick Vieira would have been fully aware of the challenge that his Crystal Palace side would be coming up against when they travelled to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea on the opening day of the 2021-22 Premier League season, but the former Nice boss will not be happy with how his team performed.
A 3-0 loss has left a sour taste in the mouth of Palace fans, and they are hoping that their team can bounce back against Premier League newcomers Brentford this weekend when they travel back to Selhurst Park. This game will be the first game back in front of a full capacity stadium since the start of Covid-19, so the home players will truly feel the backing of their supporters this weekend.
Brentford will be no pushovers, though, with The Bees winning their first-ever Premier League game 2-0 against Arsenal. They outplayed the former 2003-2004 title champions, and they will be brimming with confidence when they travel to their London rivals on Saturday.
With attacking threats such as Ivan Toney, Bryan Mbuemo and Sergi Canos, and defensive stalwarts such as Ethan Pinnock and Pontus Jansson, Vieira would be smart to not underestimate their opponents when it comes to preparing the team.
Likely, new signing Micheal Olise will not be in contention to start his first game for the club, alongside Eberechi Eze, who is out with a long-term injury. Conor Gallagher will be available to start after the midfielder was ineligible to play against his parent club, Chelsea.
Brentford midfielder Josh Dasilva is yet to make his Premier League debut with an injury that has kept him out since the previous Championship season, and it is unlikely Mathias Jensen will be back in time to face The Eagles this weekend.
Crystal Palace's predicted line-up against Brentford
Goalkeeper - Vicente Guaita
The Spanish goalkeeper won the club's Player of the Season award last season, which shows how valuable he is to the squad. The keeper put in hugely dominant performances last season, gaining points against Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United with his shot-stopping skills. The keeper was a major part in keeping the score down against Chelsea, but it is safe to say the former Valencia player wouldn't have been happy with some of the goals he conceded on the opening day.
Guaita will be desperate to keep a clean sheet against Brentford this weekend, and he will have a huge challenge on his hands trying to keep the Championship top scorer Ivan Toney quiet after he scored 32 goals last season. Keepers Jack Butland and Remi Matthews recently signed from Sunderland, will be ready and baring down on their goalkeeping teammate.
Vicente Guaita should be confident though that he will start as his performances have surely made him one of the first names on that Palace team sheet.
Right-back - Joel Ward
With two incredibly talented right-backs in this position, Vieira will have a huge headache when it comes to picking between the two. With Nathaniel Clyne being a strong and fast defender and Joel Ward being so reliable, and such a servant to the club, it is hard to leave one of them out.
Joel Ward started against Chelsea so he is likely to be more match fit and ready than Clyne, but the former Southampton and Liverpool right-back will be doing anything he can in training to make sure he challenges for that right-back position. It is likely Joel Ward will star on that right-hand side, trying his very best to nullify the Brentford wingers, Mbuemo and Canos, with his superb tackling expertise and lack of feat to put his body on the line for his long-term club.
Center-back - Joachim Andersen
The former Lyon centre-back was a brilliant signing in the summer for Palace. The 6 foot 4 Danish defender will be dominant in the air and showed how effective he can be in the Premier League in his loan spell with Fulham last season. His tackling prowess is second to none, and he will massively improve the Crystal Palace backline, with defenders such as Gary Cahill leaving the club this season.
The defender was left out in place of Cheikhou Kouyate versus Chelsea, an experienced midfielder turned defender, but when he came off the bench, his long ball distribution towards the wingers was immense, proving Andersen could be a huge part of Vieira's tactics when it comes to this season. After his substitute appearance, it will be hard for the manager to overlook him ahead of this game.
Center-back - Marc Guehi
Marc Guehi was one of the only summer signings that started last week, and he truly showed his potential to Patrick Vieira with his defensive display. The former Swansea defender impressed in the Championship, but there were questions over social media whether or not Guehi was going to be able to cope with the step up to the Premier League.
The defender, who was bought from Chelsea for £18 million, looked more than comfortable on his debut, and he looks like he has done enough to start alongside Andersen. These two could form a very solid defensive partnership this season.
Left-back - Tyrick Mitchell
The young left-back is only improving with every appearance and it is amazing to see his development in this team. With Patrick Van Aanholt departing the club this transfer window, Tyrick Mitchell has stepped in and he has been absolutely superb. His defending is only boosted by his pace and dispossessing his opponents look almost easy whilst watching Mitchell.
With the only other option being Reece Hannam, Palace's Under-23 player of the season, the future looks bright for Palace. Mitchell is likely to start over his teammate after having alternated with Van Aanholt in that position last season.
Central midfielder - Cheikhou Kouyate
The midfielder had to sit in as a defender last season as experienced players such as Mamadou Sakho suffered long term injuries. When James Tomkins came back from injury at the end of the season, Roy Hodgson put his faith in Kouyate in his original position.
With the Senegalese midfielder having the freedom to move forward and pick out the attackers, Kouyate looked to be right at home, and with such great defensive options this season, Vieira should be encouraged to allow his midfielder to run forward and boss the midfield with his strength.
Central midfielder - Luka Milivojevic
The Serbian midfielder has been a permanent component of the squad over the last couple of years, showing huge leadership qualities for the team that are deserving of his captain's armband.
The midfielder missed the Chelsea game due to personal reasons last time around, but if the midfielder is available to face Brentford, Vieira will not be able to look past what he brings to the side with his ability to win the ball off the opposition midfielders and disrupt dangerous counter-attacks.
Central midfielder - Conor Gallagher
The attacking midfielder was not able to face his parent club Chelsea, so he will likely make his Crystal Palace Premier League debut this weekend. The 21-year-old was a huge part of West Brom's league campaign last season and he was a constant threat for the side.
Alongside players such as Olise and Eze, who are both out injured, he could really thrive and have an amazingly creative, goal-scoring season for The Eagles, and he could be too much for the Brentford defence to handle.
Right-winger - Jordan Ayew
The way Crystal Palace approached the game against Chelsea allowed the winger to dribble with the ball and create space for his teammates off the ball.
His pace and dangerous attacking play could be enough for him to start and propel the London side into another strong, midtable position in the Premier League.
Striker - Christian Benteke
Jean-Phillipe Mateta started against Chelsea, and there was a real lack of attacking threat from the striker. Over pre-season, Vieira altered between Mateta and Benteke, and it is likely he does the same during the season.
Benteke scored ten goals last season for The Eagles, and the threat he possesses in the air might cause a serious problem for the Brentford defenders. Whether or not either of these strikers start, they will definitely be substituted for each other a lot this year.
Left winger - Wilfried Zaha
Whenever the Crystal Palace winger is fit, his name is etched into the team sheet for every single game. He offers a constant attacking threat for Palace, and the loyalty he has shown to the team, despite bigger teams interest, shows the true class Zaha possesses.
With Kristoffer Ajer and Rico Henry being new to the league, it will be interesting to see how they fare against the power and speed the winger has and Zaha must be licking his lips thinking about the chances he will have.
Zaha will cause serious problems for the Brentford backline, and they are going to have to be strong and resolute when it comes to containing him.
Subs: Butland, Schlupp, Clyne, Mateta, Riedewald, Benteke, McArthur, Hannam, Rak-Sakyi, Banks