Late last night, as I flicked between my tabs at the top of my Google Chrome browser, checking what is happening on the BBS, Facebook, and Crystal Palace's NewsNow page, Palace were playing Brentford at Griffin Park. Unusually for a pre-season friendly, I am able to listen to commentary on Brentford Player, but the boredom refuses to cease. We are losing, again, to a Brentford side who could have, and should have, in reality, been 4-0 up at the break. We have played a boring 4-4-1-1 formation with Calvin Andrew, bless him, trying his best as the lone striker but failing to do anything that footballers should be able to do. As the whistle blows for half-time I contemplate going down-stairs to play a game of Fifa 10. Or maybe watch some TV. Instead, I decide to carry on listening to the game. Not sure why, I just did.
On came two men who completely turned the game. Alan Lee and Wilfred Zaha replaced Calvin Andrew and Kieron Djilali, and instantly there were chances for Palace, with Zaha soon creating a very good chance but unfortunately couldn't hit the back of the net as the ball soared over.
Mid-way through the second half, after Zaha and another young player, Kieron Cadogan, had tormented the Brentford defence creating chances, a corner met the head of Davis who nodded goalwards before a flick over the keeper by Cadogan secured a draw for Palace.
Cadogan and Zaha have been the highlight of Palace's pre-season this year, and while we need a striker and a defensive midfielder, these two could yet be the revelations of the season. In the recent past we have had Clinton Morrison, Ben Watson, Tom Soares, Victor Moses, Sean Scannell and Nathaniel Clyne to come through the academy, and one way or another have made us money, especially people such as Clinton Morrison, who indirectly got us promotion. Zaha has given Palace fans like me a sight we have been missing for a long time - a small striker. He is quick and pacey, and isn't afraid to take on defenders, and is such a breath of fresh air.
Cadogan is a young winger who can also play as a striker, and scored 19 times in the reserves last season, something no other player could even come close too, with Pinney behind him hitting the net 9 times. These two, with the correct guidance that I am sure they will get from George Burley, could be the two players Palace rely on most, and I can see them coming on late on in games and scoring vital goals, two years after Cadogan rounded a Coventry City goalkeeper on his debut to salvage a draw. He was frozen out last season after seemingly breaking into the side in the 08/09 season, and hopefully this season he can kick on into what will be an exciting new era.
Cadogan and Zaha will be just like two new signings if they continue this form, and they may just help us push for the play-offs.
Tuesday, 13 July 2010
So, tonight is Palace's first pre-season friendly, and our first game under new manager George Burley. It is expected that Palace are to play with a squad filled with trialists, and rumours going around on the BBS suggest that the likes of Dean Morgan, Liam Bridcutt, Lewis Price and Mark Randall are to play a part, with many more unknown as of yet. We are rumoured to be about to announce the signing of a goalkeeper, presumably Price, and a Premier League striker before the Chelsea game on Saturday, but how many new players do we actually need?
- Julian Speroni
- Charlie Mann
My verdict: Really, we need a back-up keeper. As I mentioned in my opening paragraph, that will probably by Lewis Price, a 25 year old who played about a dozen games in the Premier League with Derby a few years back, and has a very good penalty-saving record.
- Nathaniel Clyne
- David Wright
- Lee Hills
- Claude Davis
- Adam Barrett
- Paddy McCarthy
My verdict: We should aim to try and get two more defenders, ideally one more centre-back, or maybe use Alex Wynter if he is ready for the step up, and a left-back. We were linked with Stephen Jordan but it appears he is off to Pompey, so we will have to keep looking. Should Clyne go, though, we will need to look for another right-back.
- Darren Ambrose
- Neil Danns
- Andy Dorman
- Sean Scannell
- Alasanne N'Diaye
- Kieron Djilali
My verdict: A defensive midfield should be one of our main priorites, followed by a left winger, although Danns can play there. We have been linked with James Harper, and have reportedly had bids turned down for Owen Garvan, who would be a great signing, not sure if a necessary one though.
- Alan Lee
- Calvin Andrew
- Wilfred Zaha
My verdict: Get a quick finisher to play alongside Lee or Andrew. Clinton Morrison was rumoured, and now has signed for Wednesday, and Simeon Jackson has also been mentioned. Whether a deal for the latter actually comes to fruition or not is still to be seen, but he is the kind of player we need right now if we are to be competitive in this league.
Really, we need a goalkeeper, a centre-back, a left-back, a defensive midfielder, a left-winger, and a striker. 6 players. Obviously, we could have a few back-ups on top, and none are completely necessary right now, but we will need depth and options if we are to make a play-off challenge and sustain it throughout the season.