A solid if unspectacular Crystal Palace season saw them finish in 11th place last season. Whether they could improve upon that was always going to hinge on whether their star players, Wilfried Zaha and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, stay or leave.
Palace should be commended for refusing to let either go cheaply; they picked up a very respectable £50 million for Wan-Bissaka and are currently refusing to budge from a reported £80 million price tag for Zaha.
In terms of incomings, however, they have been remarkably quiet. So far, their only signings have third-choice goalkeeper Stephen Henderson, and capturing the on-loan Jordan Ayew on a permanent deal.
They will need to bolster what is currently a light squad if they are to avoid a relegation battle in the upcoming season, where newly promoted side Aston Villa top the spending charts with more than £100 million splashed so far.
RealSport look at how Crystal Palace could line-up and rate on FIFA 20.
Vicente Guaita (OVR 81 – 80)
Towards the end of last season, Guaita had the upper hand over Wayne Hennessey in Palace’s goalkeeping rotation, and you can expect him to start the upcoming season. The fact that he didn’t get a full season under his belt should see him drop one point.
Joel Ward (OVR 74 – 75)
Joel Ward has been the victim of Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s rapid rise, serving as his understudy for the past 18 months. It would be surprising if Palace didn’t invest some of the £50 million they received for Wan-Bissaka in a new right-back. For now, Ward starts and the former Portsmouth man receives a one-point boost.
James Tomkins (OVR 78 – 78)
Crystal Palace finished last season with an impressive 12 clean sheets – the sixth highest in the league. They owe much of it to the impressive centre-back partnership of James Tomkins and Mamadou Sakho. Tomkins is a solid player who is well-suited to Palace’s style – his FIFA 20 rating should stay the same.
Mamadou Sakho (OVR 80 – 80)
With Wan-Bissaka now plying his trade in Manchester, Sakho is the best defender Palace have. If Hodgson’s side are to build upon a season in which they were solid in defence but often restricted by their wastefulness in front of goal, keeping Sakho is a must. Comments made in April about wanting Champions League football won’t have eased their fears over losing him. His rating should stay at 80.
Patrick van Aanholt (OVR 75 – 76)
Patrick van Aanholt should get a boost not because he had a much better season in 2018/2019 than in the one before, but primarily because his Fifa 19 rating of 75 is harsh. Van Aanholt is a reliable defender for a team outside the top six and is able to chip in with goals.
Luka Milivojevic (OVR 79 – 81)
Position: CDM, CM
Although Wilfried Zaha and Wan-Bissaka grabbed most of the headlines last season, Luka Milivojevic wasn’t far behind them in terms of his importance to the side. He is Palace’s heartbeat, contributing to the team on both sides of the ball. He was, in fact, Palace’s top scorer last term with 12 goals, although 10 came from the penalty spot. The Eagles captain gets a two-point increase to 81.
Max Meyer (OVR 79 – 78)
Position: CM, LM
At first glance, signing Max Meyer from Schalke appeared to be a serious scalp; a free agent coming off an impressive season and frequently linked with the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool. This convinced Palace to make him one of their top earners, but sadly his performances haven’t justified the wage – 14 of his 29 Premier League appearances last season came off the bench, and he only managed one goal and two assists. Palace fans will be hoping that he’s better equipped for the Premier League next year, but in the meantime, his rating drops to 78.
James McArthur (OVR 76 – 76)
Position: CM, LM, RM
James McArthur was an ever-present for Palace last season, playing in every Premier League game. His three goals and six assists is the best contribution in a season so far. He may not be a headline writer but is a solid player. His rating will stay at 76.
Andros Townsend (OVR 78-80)
Position: RM, CF
Andros Townsend contributed to 10 goals last season, scoring six and assisting four – but his season will be remembered for one solitary strike at the Etihad. The screamer was deservedly named Premier League Goal of the Season in what was comfortably Palace’s best result of the season. Townsend should be boosted from a harsh rating of 78 to 80.
Wilfried Zaha (OVR 82 – 83)
Position: CF, LM
Country: Ivory Coast
Zaha is comfortably Crystal Palace’s best player and quite possibly the best player from any team to finish in the bottom half of the table. Their summer will be judged on whether they’re able to keep him, or if they do sell him, adequately replace him. It could well be the difference between survival and relegation, as he is the centrepiece in this Palace side. He scored 10 goals last term, as well as winning a remarkable six penalties. He will be boosted to 83 or possibly 84.
Christian Benteke (OVR 78 – 77)
Crystal Palace desperately need to address their striking situation, having so far failed to re-sign Michy Batshuayi or someone else of that ilk, Christian Benteke is a long way from the player he once was at Aston Villa, reflected in a measly return of one goal from the 16 appearances. His rating should be decreased to 77.
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On the bench
At the time of writing, Palace only have 20 outfielders in their squad, nine of which are defenders, and two of which are academy products yet to make a first-team appearance. In short, Palace desperately need some new signings.
Their first signing of the summer was goalkeeper Stephen Henderson (OVR 68 – 66) who will be third-choice. Wayne Hennessey (OVR 75 – 76) is likely to continue to rotate with Guaita.
Scott Dann (OVR 76 – 75) and Martin Kelly (OVR 75 – 75) serve as the back-up centre-back pairing. They also have Jeffrey Schlupp (OVR 73 – 75) to provide cover in defence and midfield. The new addition of Gary Cahill (OVR 79 – 78) provides the Eagles with an experienced winning defender.
In midfield, Cheikhou Kouyate (OVR 76 – 76) will compete with Max Meyer for a starting spot, offering greater defensive protection. They are light both at centre-mid and wing, so will need to pick up a couple of signings in midfield. James McCarthy (OVR 76 – 76) will join McArthur for the third time in their career. Victor Camarasa (OVR 76 – 76) the Spaniard arrived in South London, Roy Hodgson may give him a few run outs this season to help ease him into the team
In attack, Jordan Ayew (OVR 77 – 76) has signed permanently from Swansea, but with just two goals last season, he won’t be a long-term solution up front for the Eagles. Roy Hodgson may give They also still have Connor Wickham (OVR 71 – 71) on the books who is looking to put an injury plagued three seasons at the club behind him.
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