Three ways to back your team: Crystal Palace
All change at Selhurst Park
It has been a summer of shocks at Selhurst Park, starting with the resignation of manager Sam Allardyce. The former England gaffer stunned football when stepping down and retiring from the game. The true reasons for that move remain sketchy, but it’s done, and everyone must move on.
Palace filled the gap by appointing Dutch ace Frank de Boer, and the former Ajax boss has had plenty of time to settle into his new post, and continues to work hard behind the scenes to shape The Eagles for the coming season. Will they improve on last year’s 14th-place finish?
Boss targets a top-half finish
It was a difficult season for Palace fans last term, despite ending seven points above the relegation zone come the final count. It looked, for large parts of the year, like they were destined to take the drop into the Championship, and probably owe their current Premier League status to Sam Allardyce, who worked miracles to see them keep the bottom-three at arm’s length. Followers of the London club have a very capable replacement in de Boer, but it’s true he will be afforded little time to settle in to the demands of English football. Frank told the media it was his aim to establish his new employers as a solid top-10 side. An ambitious call in his first season, probably more ambitious than many supporters are. The gaffer doesn’t boast a perfect CV in management, so fans would probably be satisfied with a similar effort to last time. Top-10 trades at 3/1, while a bottom-half finish is a lot more likely, Coral giving 2/9.
Six points an achievable goal in August
Our football guys look convinced Crystal Palace will struggle in the coming months, and de Boer arrives on the back of a confidence-crushing spell at Inter Milan, where he was sacked after just 85 days. That’s harsh. The Inter board made that decision on the back of de Boer losing four of five games, wasting no time wielding the axe. The 47-year-old told fans he needed more time to settle in at the club, but it’s doubtful he’ll be given a season or two to get things right in London. He has made a rod for his own back with that top-10 comment, and now must deliver the goods. If you think de Boer and his team will fall flat this season, we’re handing out 5/1 on them to be relegated. 1/9 says they’ll stay up. Judging by the odds, they should end between 11th and 17th place. They start with a home tie against recently promoted Huddersfield, are then off to Anfield, finishing at home to Swansea. Six points from a possible nine in August would be a success.
Palace vs West Ham gives a real interest
Coral offer a number of specials in the Premier League, including match bets. Do you fancy The Eagles to finish higher up the pecking order at the end of the season than The Hammers? That’s a tough one to call. Both Crystal Palace and West Ham are just as likely to end in the top-10 as they are the bottom-three. Two notoriously difficult sides to work out, the appointment of Frank de Boer only making it tougher. The London rivals face-off in our head-to-head betting and we’ve got Palace to fare better than West Ham as an 11/8 shot. West Ham to finish higher is 8/15. That should provide a season-long interest.