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What Constitutes Success For Crystal Palace?

Crystal Palace have been a mainstay in the Premier League since their promotion back in 2012, after beating Watford 1-0 in The Championship playoff final, courtesy of a stoppage-time penalty from Kevin Phillips.

Since then, Crystal Palace have been a welcome team in the Premier League, having played in their fair share of drama over the years, including Liverpool‘s infamous collapse at Selhurst Park, which cost them the league title.

For Palace themselves, their time back in the Premier League has been less than fruitful. Since their arrival. They have not managed a singular top-half finish, finishing as high as 10th on two occasions under Roy Hodgson and Alan Pardew.

In fact, they have never really been overly threatened by relegation either. Their worst season to date was the 2015-16 season, under Alan Pardew, where they still managed to finish 15th, with more than 3 points separating them from the drop.

They have had some brilliant managers over the years, including the likes of Tony Pulis, Roy Hodgson, Alan Pardew, Sam Allardyce, and, more recently, Patrick Vieira. Despite the majority of these managers having a wealth of Premier League experience, they have failed to break Palace into that top 10, or even challenge for a trophy.

Alongside these managers have been some quality players as well. Wilfried Zaha is a well-documented player, and his performances for Palace have been vital over the years, in both his stints at the club.

Other than this, Palace rarely splash the cash on players. The only other players of note Crystal Palace have purchased have been Yohan Cabaye, Mamadou Sakho and Eberechi Eze.

Palace often rely on free transfers or low-figure fees for players, such as Rob Holding signing for around £4 million from Arsenal, which is an astonishing fee for an English player. But it is this kind of transfer strategy that may be limiting their progression.

Teams like West Ham have spent big over the years, whereas Brighton’s transfer strategy relies on them finding gems from obscure teams and leagues, which so far has worked wonders in bringing in players such as Mitoma, Estupinan and Trossard.

If Palace were to invest the same kind of money, with the players already at their disposal, they would have a good chance of breaking into these top 6 spots.

The Premier League title is something that Palace fans can only dream of, and it would be a major shock if they manage to get their hands on the league title, especially considering they have not been able to break into the top 10 so far.

Would a spot in the top 10 be considered a success? Or should Palace be aiming higher? Teams such as Brentford, Brighton and West Ham have pushed for European spots, with Brighton playing in Europe this season and West Ham winning the Europa Conference League last season.

With how good Palace can be at home, it is hard to see just how they struggle at times. They seem to turn up in the big games, but then drop points against the teams around them, which is another factor that may be holding them back.

Outside of the Premier League, Palace have been competing in the FA Cup and the League Cup. They have not fared too well in either competition in their recent history, with them being knocked out in the third round on multiple occasions.

Crystal Palace have struggled in the League Cup, having not reached any further than the fourth round since their return to the Premier League, where they have often been knocked out by lesser opposition.

Palace have fared much better in the FA Cup, thankfully for their fans. They have been knocked out in the opening few rounds on more than one occasion, but in the 2018-19 season, they made it all the way to the quarter-finals where they were knocked out by Watford.

They also achieved a semi-final spot in their 2021-22 season, when they were knocked out by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

They went one better in the 2015-16 season, as they made it all the way to the final, where they played against Man United. Despite lacking in possession, Pardew’s side were the better team on the day.

Palace led in that game. Jason Puncheon scored the opener with 12 minutes to go, but their lead lasted just 3 minutes as Juan Mata levelled the scores. The game went to extra time, and despite Chris Smalling getting sent off for United, Lingard scored the winner, handing United the trophy.

As unlucky as Palace were, that loss now means they have not won a trophy since their promotion to the Premier League, with that play-off final being their last success. So what do Palace need to do to break this duct?

As mentioned previously, they need to rethink their transfer strategy, and maybe invest some more in the way of transfer fees. They have some brilliant options already, with Mateta, Olise, Eze and Edouard.

Even defensively they are getting stronger, with Guehi recently being handed an England call-up, but they are being held back in certain areas.

They also need to start taking their cup competitions more seriously. Since their FA Cup final appearance, they have not made it past the fourth round in either competition. Both cups are something Palace should be aiming to win every season. They have proved in the league they can compete with the big teams, they need to start doing this in the cups as well.

It must be frustrating for Palace fans to see their team competing with the likes of Arsenal, Man City and Liverpool, but then losing in the cups each season to teams like Watford, Derby County and Colchester United.

They have already been knocked of the Carabao Cup this season by Man United, and so the FA Cup is their only viable chance of silverware this season, and it is a competition they are expected to do well in.

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