Preview: Norwich City vs Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace will begin their third successive season in the Premier League with a trip to Carrow Road to face newcomers Norwich City on Saturday.
After two mid-table finishes in the top flight division, Palace now have the respect afforded to established Premier League sides. The Eagles have reinforced their status with the club record signing of Yohan Cabaye from Paris Saint-Germain.
Cabaye will add quality in Palace s midfield, which is essential for the south London club as Pardew attempts to alter the team s style of play. Pardew wants his side to evolve from a team that sits back and plays on the counter to a side that retains the ball better.
The Eagles are also engaged in long-term plans off field.
They are redeveloping Selhurst Park, revamping the club s Beckenham training ground as well as investing further in community projects across south London.
Still, both Pardew and Crystal Palace co-chairman Steve Parish are wary of letting a false sense of security creep in. They are targeting a better start to the season compared to the last two campaigns.
Norwich are still behind Palace in terms of ambitions. The Canaries will settle for just surviving the drop.
They may be the least active of all the promoted sides in the transfer market but Norwich managed to secure a couple of mid-range Premier League players, like Youssouf Mulumbu, Andre Wisdom and Graham Dorrans.
A win in this encounter would set the Canaries up nicely for a relatively kind fixture list ahead. Alex Neil s men will not face a team that finished in the top five last season in the first 10 games, which should hopefully be enough for Norwich to establish a firm foothold in the top division.
Norwich City team news
- Mulumbu was injured in the Canaries final pre-season game and will miss out, along with Martin Olsson, who is recovering from shoulder surgery.
- Kyle Lafferty is also expected to miss out with a knee injury.
Crystal Palace team news
- Yohan Cabaye is expected to recover from a dead leg in time to feature but Yannick Bolasie is unlikely to be involved because of a hamstring injury.
- Julian Speroni (hand injury), Kwesi Appiah (ACL knee) and Frazer Campbell (hamstring) are all long-term injury absentees.
Norwich City vs Crystal Palace prediction
Steven Whittaker may be asked to play at left-back, while new signing Wisdom takes his place on the right. Nathan Redmond and Robbie Brady could be the wide midfielders, linking up with the full-backs in a 4-4-1-1 formation.
Wes Hoolahan is likely to be the second striker with Cameron Jerome spearheading the attack.
Pardew prefers a 4-2-3-1 formation so Joe Ledley and James McArthur may start as the central midfielders with Cabaye operating in the number 10 role behind Patrick Bamford.
Wilfried Zaha and Jason Puncheon could be the wide attacking midfielders in the absence of Bolasie.
This will be an interesting contest because both managers are attack-minded and while Palace have the quality players to retain the ball better, the Canaries will also want to exert some control in their first home game.
Both sides could end up enjoying spells of sustained possession leading to an entertaining draw.
Norwich City 2-2 Crystal Palace