Crystal Palace’s new boss will have to get the best of all three attackers to thrive during a potentially problematic rebuild
While Patrick Vieira is still settling on Crystal Palace’s training ground, the scope of the task he inherited may be sinking.
The Frenchman, who was appointed on Sunday after the club’s lengthy search was completed, can still say the right things to the media, but there must be an element of doubt under the undisturbed attitude.
Not only has he taken over a club in transition with several staff members leaving, but there is also an expectation to revamp the Eagles’ field approach. Premier League clubs have submitted the list of players who will be retained and will be released early last month and Palace stick out like a sore thumb in the last, with staggering 22 players presumably leaving.
Of the top flight clubs included, Aston Villa’s 12 came closest. Admittedly, the list is not definitive and some of the players included may still remain, but it does show the extent of Vieira’s work at Beckenham.
The task of playing more football and lowering the average age of the oldest PL group (29 and a little last season), the former Arsenal star believes he is up to the task.
“This is an important period for the football club,” he said. Palace TV after his first workout with the group. ‘I think we’re looking forward to a new chapter, and I’m very proud and happy to be a part of it.
‘What I really want is to put in place a philosophy that my players understand really well so they can express themselves when they go on the field.
‘There is talent, and my responsibility is to make that talent work well together. I want to see a team that is on the front foot. I want the team to score more goals, have more shots on target than we had before, but at the same time retain that kind of mental strength that the team has created over the past few years. ”
Nothing screams talent more than Wilfried Zaha – the club’s talisman for several years – and Eberechi Eze, a gifted youngster who was signed to Queens Park Rangers last term, but Vieira may not have one next season.
The lost Ivory Coast star still wants out of his youth club to fulfill ambitions to play for a top team and his recent, now customary public statement little surprised.
Whether a move will be made remains to be seen, but it’s a completely unideal situation to step in as a new manager with the new season starting in a month.
For Eze, the unfortunate timing of a serious Achilles injury came just before his debut season ended. After a bed-in-year without fans’ continued galvanizing influence on Selhurst Park, the Anglo-Nigerian plans to thrive in the big time in the second year with fans returning to the site.
However, he is now expected to miss much of next season, which will leave a big hole in the team.
Vieira focused primarily on the goal and creating a system that improved the team’s last third return, an approach hoped to get an unproductive Jordan Ayew shooting.
The 29-year-old has only batted once in the entire previous season, despite starting 23 of his 33 games. His only goal was in early November in the 4-1 win over Leeds United, but the handwriting was at the end of last season, where the Ghanaian played eight consecutive matches without ending the campaign.
After struggling for the Black Stars, former Dutch midfielder George Boateng declared patience, with reference to the lack of quality opportunities that have been created, especially at Palace.
Maybe the former Middlesbrough man is doing something …
Interestingly, Palace set up a greater number of big chances than just two clubs in 20/21.
A dip in the underlying numbers shows that Roy Hodgson’s men rated low for almost every positive or offensive measure per 90: bottom for expected assistants, third down for key passes and second down for passes in the final third. Furthermore, they finished fourth for accurate passes in the box and 16th place among all 20 sides for progressive passes.
It is not surprising that only two parties – West Bromwich Albion and Sheffield United – have created fewer shot-creating actions per 90 than the South London team. Both teams have now been relegated from the PL.
Regardless of the reservations about style, Hodgson has an old side above their weight, and it remains to be seen how Vieira makes things work.
In his only full season in Nice in 18/19, the Frenchman regularly adjusted the style – moving away from Lucien Favre’s dominant 4-3-3 – as he adjusted in his first campaign in Ligue 1. Despite the fact that he eventually on the same formation as his predecessor in the unraveling of the campaign, he tended to use several variations of a back try.
While finishing in seventh place – one place and two points higher than Favre’s final year – the deviation was striking. Vieira’s team has scored 30 league goals – the lowest in the top half and just two more than Guingamp. However, their concession of 35 goals was only improved by Lille.
The Arsenal legend retained his predecessor’s possession approach, and his team interestingly created a greater amount of clear chances (57-50), but they scored 23 goals less than last season’s 53.
This can be mainly attributed to Alassane Plea’s departure to Borussia Monchengladbach and an audience that fell out with Mario Balotelli, whose contract ended in January.
After Allea Saint-Maximin and Youcef Atal saw Plea and Super Mario deliver 16 and 18 Ligue 1 goals in 17/18, respectively, they beat six times the following year.
Viera’s Nice have significantly underperformed their xG and they have sometimes struggled to progress the ball in advanced areas, possibly as a result of Jean Michael Seri’s departure to Fulham in the summer of 2018.
Just in his third managerial job, the 45-year-old faces the challenging task of leading the Eagles through their transition. Apart from an aging group and a desire for a free-flowing style, the new Palace boss must manage a talismanic presence that wants to leave, a young man whose injury is uncertain at the Achilles injury, and a forward. which rarely scores.
It will be interesting to see how the Arsenal legend fuses an imperfect lineup and tries to make it whole again.