Palace strengthened well last summer, with the acquisition of Benteke something of a coup. His 15 league goals dwarfed the 5 scored by Cabaye, Wickham, Dann and Bolasie last time around. They also finished one place higher (14th) despite earning a point less.
The domestic cups were not kind to them, exiting in the early rounds against Man City and Southampton respectively. The managerial change and lack of cup action helped them greatly, with Big Sam accumulating 26 points in the second half of the season, 11 more than Pardew managed in the same amount of time. Wins over Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool did the former England manager’s reputation the world of good.
As previously mentioned Benteke was their main threat. His seven game goal drought that included a penalty miss against Watford was however a huge lull in his, and Palace’s, season. They would have hoped for more goals from midfield too, with new signing Townsend only scoring 3 in 40 appearances. Zaha however significantly upped his goals scoring rate (roughly 1:5 rather than 1:8).
Six of their seven clean sheets came after the appointment of Allardyce, with the acquisition of Sahko a notable contributing factor. That is a foundation De Boer will have to base his free flowing Ajax style on if he wants to move this team forward.
The aim for Palace should be a top half finish. Consecutive league finishes of: 11th, 10th, 15th, 14th show somewhat of a stagnation. I guess you’d now consider them a Premier League mainstay but they have to kick on and be looking to chase teams such as West Brom and Southampton.
De Boer brings with him a great philosophy and hopefully a buzz of excitement at Selhurst Park but he’ll have to make sure to base that on Allardyce’s extensive defensive work. A couple of good signings and their aims will not be unrealistic.
They’ve already got rid of some dead wood but Sahko has also finished his loan. If they can afford, or replace, him they will have a relatively stable defence. Right back may however need cover, with someone like Calum Chambers fitting the bill. De Boer could look to previous clubs for defensive reinforcements in the shape of Ranocchia or Riedewald (assuming that Veltman would be too expensive).
One central midfielder would be sufficient to cover the loss of Flamini, with Milivojevic looking more than capable in his absence.
With Benteke the only striker of value in the squad he may look to add one of two previous players, either Siem de Jong or Iceland international Sigborsson.