It has been a positive start to the season for the South London outfit. After a disastrous start to the campaign last season, losing each of their first seven Premier League fixtures without scoring, many of the problems which caused this disastrous run of form seems to have been fixed. The Eagles have certainly been given a sense of stability and solidity by the Croydon-born Roy Hodgson.
Palace have impressed. Away at Craven Cottage, a professional performance, combined with fine counter-attacking football, secured three points against Fulham to get things off to a good start. A Monday night fixture against Klopp’s Liverpool followed, and Liverpool came away with maximum points. However, the performance still showed lots of promise, with pundit Gary Neville concluding that Hodgson’s men were ‘too good’ to be involved in a relegation battle this season.
However, there is just one issue remaining at Selhurst Park that Parish and Hodgson have been unable to solve: An out-and-out goalscorer. Not since the club let go of veteran forward Glenn Murray have they had a real natural finisher at the club, and the issue costs them points in several matches. In the Liverpool game for example, there was no lack of chances for the Eagles, but there was an evident lack of natural finisher to put the chances created away. Any team which has the creative talent of a player like Wilfried Zaha is going to create plenty of chances in the majority of games, but in the Premier League, being clinical is key.
Of course, Belgian target man Christian Benteke has come under fire for his lack of goal-scoring prowess. Last season, the club’s record signing missed twenty big chances, the second most in the Premier League. The club have looked to find a solution to the problem with the loan-signing of Jordan Ayew from Swansea City. However, the Ghanaian has scored a maximum of seven goals in a single Premier League season, so he is likely not the deadly finisher the club were after. Roy Hodgson seems insistent on playing one up top, and it doesn’t seem Ayew in the type of striker to fit the lone-man up top role.
A deadly goal scorer is what every top-flight club craves, but they are incredibly hard to come by. The lack of natural finisher will cost the SE25 outfit plenty of points during the season, but it still seems they have enough quality to achieve a solid season this campaign.