Following Roy Hodgson’s departure from the South London club in the summer of 2021, Palace were not only left without a significant number of backroom staff, but also found themselves missing a large number of senior members of the team itself, all of whom were left without a contract, most notably the likes of Gary Cahill, a veteran player who formed the backbone of their defence, and Andros Townsend, who had found his form in the months prior to his release thanks to the resurgence of the Crystal Palace forward Christian Benteke. Without their experienced core that Palace had relied on so heavily in their previous eight seasons in the premier league, their next topflight campaign looked to be a tough one.

However, in July of this year, Palace’s poor luck seemed to change following the appointment of Patrick Vieira as the new manager of the club, with the former Arsenal captain signing a three-year deal with the Eagles. Despite his appointment, many critics were sceptical of his lack of Premier League managerial experience, and resultantly Palace’s odds of relegation were slashed to 6/1, making them the second most likely team to be relegated behind Newcastle. Despite this heavy criticism, Palace’s seemingly arduous mission of bringing in new faces into the club started brightly, with the club bringing in the highly sought-after teenager Michael Olise from Reading for an undisclosed fee. Olise would become one of many new, talented and young signings for Palace, establishing a strong youth core that Palace had missed since their Championship days. The arrival of England under 21 captain Marc Guéhi seemed to fill the void that existed in the Palace backline, and the later arrival of Chelsea loanee Connor Gallagher provided a rejuvenation to Palace’s ageing midfield.

Vieira’s introduction into the Premier League as a manager appeared to be a very shaky one, with his side falling to a three-nil defeat at the hands of European Champions Chelsea. Despite this early struggle, Palace’s poor form was short lived, picking up draws to London rivals Brentford and West Ham before inflicting their first victory of the season against Tottenham in an emphatic three-nil win. It appeared that Vieira’s proactive approach to the game, which entailed fluid passing and possession dominance, had finally paid off. His four at the back, three in midfield and three up top formation has invigorated this Palace side with a far more creative and threatening style of play that the group had lacked under Hodgson. Since their Victory over London rivals Tottenham, Palace seem to have statistically had a mixed level of performances to cap off 2021 with notable victories against Champions Manchester City and Everton fresh in the minds of supporters, yet Eagles fans remain excited and hopeful for a top half finish and potentially a first experience of European football. Vieira’s revolution of the South London team has only just begun, and we hope to see this young side playing in England’s topflight for many seasons to come.