2017 offered many highs and lows for fans of Crystal Palace, but what does 2018 have in store? There’s lots of things to look forward to, however there may also be a few nervy moments ahead.
2017 ended with club Chairman Steve Parish unveiling plans to redevelop Selhurst Park, increasing the overall capacity from 26,000 to over 34,000. The stadium has been home to the Eagles since 1924 and with the club now being an establish Premier League outfit, it seems a logical proposal to redevelop the stadium.
The £75-£100 million investment will see a new main stand, with capacity increasing to 13,500 compared to the original 5,400 seats in the stand. All four stands will be joined together, creating an electric atmosphere inside the stadium. The investment will also see the pitch size increase from the current 101.5m x 68m to 105m x 68m. This increase allows the stadium to become eligible to host football tournament events, a proud moment for the club. The final planning documents must be submitted by the end of January 2018, with building possibly starting towards the end of the year. The construction of the new stand will not stop Crystal Palace from playing at Selhurst Park, with the new stand being able to be constructed over the current stand - as seen with Anfield’s newest stand.
The Premier League
Whilst the year 2017 provided Palace fans with what seemed to be a roller coaster of emotions, the remainder of the 2017/18 Premier League campaign looks to be the club’s most vital months yet. Crystal Palace currently sit 17th in the Premier League on just nineteen points, only one point outside the relegation zone. The Eagles ended 2017 with a 0-0 home draw against the red-hot in form Manchester City, a game which could even have resulted in a win for Palace if their last gasp penalty was converted.
The first game in 2018 for Roy Hodgson’s men is a Premier League clash away at Southampton, a game which Palace will be looking to take all three points from. The main disappointment of 2017 was the lack of goals scored in front of the Palace fans. The club have only managed to score eighteen times in the Premier League this season, the fourth lowest amount of goals scored by any team in the league.
Burnley, for example, are a team that have proven you don’t need to score a lot of goals to finish high up in the table, as they currently sit seventh with only one more goal than Crystal Palace. When comparing the two squads there are no large differences that justify the gap between the two clubs, a sense of stability seems to be a large factor to Burnley’s success this season. Now that Palace have appointed Roy Hodgson and the players are familiar with his system it is time to push on and construct a sense of stability within the squad.
Winter and Summer transfer window
The introduction of 2018 signifies the opening of the January transfer window, one that Palace must look to strengthen in. Their rather poor form in front of goal must persuade Hodgson into wanting to add to his attacking options. The club have been linked with a move for Turkish striker Cenk Tosun who is valued at around £25m. This player appeared to be favoured by Sam Allardyce when he was manager at Palace, hence why the club were interested in him. However, since Allardyce has moved to Everton they have entered into talks with the player which maybe damped Palace’s hopes of signing the player. The club have also been linked with a move for a new goalkeeper, with Manchester United’s Sam Johnstone (currently on loan at Aston Villa) and Ipswich Town’s Bartosz Bialkowski both being valued at around £5 million.
The summer transfer window proposes a saga which has hung over Crystal Palace fans for years, the future of Wilfried Zaha. The Ivorian has attracted interest from multiple Premier League clubs, including Tottenham Hotspur however Zaha remains focused to help Palace avoid relegation. Should the club be relegated in May it looks certain that Zaha will look to move club and Palace will cash in on the player, however if the club can stay in the Premier League it will be down to Chairman Steve Parish to keep Zaha at the club. Should Crystal Palace cash in on the winger they should gain a fee in the region of around £30-£40 million, enough money to improve weak areas in the squad.