GW10 – Arsenal (h)
GW11 – Chelsea (a)
GW12 – Spurs (h)
GW13 – Man United (a)
Record since 2013 Promotion
Played – 40
Won – 8 [Ars-1, Che-4, Tot-1, Mun-0]
Lost – 31 [Ars-8, Che-6, Tot-8, Mun-9]
Scored – 28 [Ars-10, Che-10, Tot-3, Mun-5]
Conceded – 68 [Ars-20, Che-14, Tot-12, Mun-22]
Clean Sheets – 4 [Ars-1, Che-1, Tot-1, Mun-1]
It’s certainly not an easy start for Palace as they face a rampant Arsenal side at home. The Eagles have lost 12 of the last 15 league meetings with the Gunners, only winning the once, a 3-0 victory in April 2017. Arsenal don’t have the most watertight defence in the league, but Palace do struggle to score past them. Excluding the aforementioned 3-0 victory, the only other time the North London side have conceded more than one goal to their rivals south of the river in the last 24 years, was the home game last season, where Townsend and Tomkins scored in a 3-2 defeat. In fact, Palace have only won 4 of the 43 meetings between the two London teams, and losing 28 of them.
Arsenal are currently in a rich vein of form, having won their last ten games in all competitions, seven of which have come in the Premier League. Crystal Palace on the other hand, have now failed to register a point in any of their last three games. In those seven league games, Arsenal have notched up a goal tally of 17, and only conceding 6. In those same seven games, Palace have only conceded three more than Arsenal, but only found the back of the net themselves on three occasions, none of which have come at Selhurst Park.
Chelsea are arguably the side Palace have done the best against out of the four, having won 4 of the 10 games they’ve played against the Blues since the 2013/14 season. There always seems to be a winner in this fixture in recent years, as there hasn’t been a single draw in those 10 games, Chelsea just edging it with the 6 wins. However, Palace can take confidence in that they have won 2 of the last 3 games, with both of last season’s games ending in 2-1 wins for the respective home sides.
Unfortunately, that confidence can mean nothing when Chelsea currently have the most in form player in the league in Eden Hazard. The Belgian has scored 7 goals so far, and sits atop everyone in the early stages of the race for the golden boot. His record against Palace does not read as fruitful though, having only scored 1 goal and grabbed 2 assists in the 10 games he’s faced the South London side.
Palace then Spurs to Selhurst Park, in what will be their third straight London derby. Since Palace became a Premier League side again, all the games between the two have been close affairs, although still not positively for Palace with just the 1 win out of the 10. Only two games have ended with a winning goal difference of more than one, with 5 of the last 6 matches finishing as 1-0 wins for Spurs.
There is of course no getting away with having a game against Tottenham and not having to worry about the threat from Harry Kane. Although the England captain is not in his most prolific form at the moment, his record against Palace is certainly one he can smile at, having produced five attacking returns (3 goals, 2 assists) in the 8 league games he’s played against them.
Vs Man United
Finally, Palace travel away from London for the first time in November, for a game against Jose Mourinho’s (at time of writing anyway) Manchester United. Palace have a horrendous record against the Red Devils, having picked up just a single point from the 10 occasions they’ve faced United since 2013/14. In fact, it gets worse the further you look back. Besides a Darren Ambrose wonder strike giving Palace a League Cup victory in 2011, they have failed to beat Man United in any game since 1991. For all you youngsters out there, that was before there was even a thing known as a Premier League.
Not even home comforts can help Palace in this one, as they have to travel to Old Trafford, a stadium in which they haven’t scored a league goal at since Danny Granville and Joonas Kolkka both scored in a 5-2 defeat in December 2004.
Alternatives to the Eagles
Now I’m aware that Palace players are not the most prized assets in FPL right now, with Wan-Bissaka and Zaha the only two players owned by over 10% of managers. However, taking the top five highest owned Palace players, I’ll provide two alternatives for each one that you could contemplate swapping to for the next 4 fixtures at least. There is a ‘safe pick’ who is usually a fixed starter or someone who’s been in form so far this season, and a differential pick if you’re feeling like you want something a bit different. Both are of a similar price to the said Palace player.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka [4.3m | 29.6%]
Safe Pick – Shane Duffy [£4.5m | 4.5%]
Duffy currently sits third the charts of defenders around the 4.5m price mark with 39 FPL points, with just the Wolves pair of Doherty (50) and Boly (40) ahead of him. Although he jumps to the top of the charts when looking at the best goal scoring defenders so far this season with his 2 goals. He has also provided 2 assists to his teammates, one of which coming in the same 12-point haul away at Southampton in gameweek 5.
His current form is looking good too with 5 and 7 points in his last two games against West Ham and Newcastle respectively, thanks to a clean sheet against both. Brighton fans will be hoping that defensive form continues with the next four fixtures being very favourable to them; Wolves (h), Everton (a), Cardiff (a), and Leicester (h).
Differential Pick – DeAndre Yedlin [£4.5m | 1.2%]
Now I know what you’re saying, “a Newcastle defender?…and not Lascelles?” Yeah well, the Newcastle captain is probably the better option of the lot, but he’s a little out of the price range. However, as an alternative, Yedlin should not be sniffed at. He does just have a goal and assist to his name so far this season, so he isn’t the most prolific attacking defender yet, but with a run of fixtures that the Magpies have, there’s certainly opportunity to get forward. You could go for someone like Bennett [4.2m | 12.0%], but their run of games is not as pleasant with games against Spurs (h) and Arsenal (a) in their next three. Newcastle on the other hand have; Southampton (a), Watford (h), Bournemouth (h), and Burnley (a).
Safe Pick – Marko Arnautovic
There aren’t many options for purchases when it comes to West Ham, besides Fabianski in goal, the only viable one to own is Arnautovic up top. The Hammers talisman has had some up and down form so far this season, going off early in a couple of games, but also notching up 4 goals and an assist. Marko could even fall into a bracket of being fixture proof, having grabbed goals against Arsenal and Manchester United already this season, and if it wasn’t for a fantastic performance by Lloris, he could have walked away from gameweek 9 with a hat-trick. With their next three fixtures against Leicester (a), Burnley (h), and Huddersfield (a), his potential to gather returns looks great. Although, last season he only managed to grab just the one 1 goal in games against these sides, but also with 6 assists.
Differential Pick – Kelechi Iheanacho
Kelechi is very much a pick from left field, he hasn’t truly stepped in to that vacant spot in the team left behind by the departing Mahrez, with just the one goal to his name so far, albeit with 4 assists for his teammates. He is starting up top alongside Vardy who is a doubt for the weekend with the illness that forced him jog down the tunnel at Arsenal on Monday night. Kelechi’s fixtures are; West Ham (h), Cardiff (a), Burnley (h), and Brighton (a), which is a great run of games if he can recapture some of the goal scoring form he had at times during his Man City days.
Safe Pick – Rui Patrício
Patrício has settled into Premier League life very quickly, and has proved to be the standout selection for the ‘budget’ keeper category. He has 4 clean sheets to his name so far, and has also picked up 4 bonus points in recent weeks, which is the second most for a goalkeeper, just 1 behind Brighton’s Mat Ryan. Looking at the fixtures, there may not be many chances for clean sheets in the next four games, when they face the North London pair of Spurs (h) and Arsenal (a), so it will be his saving ability that will be his biggest appeal. Also, there wouldn’t be much doubt if they did manage to keep a clean sheet against either of those sides, he’d be in line for some maximum bonus points. Another thing to consider is his ownership. He’s not one of the highest owned keepers out there, in fact he’s owned by just 10.6% of FPL managers, so if he does get some hauls from those games, it could gratefully benefit your overall rank.
Differential Pick – Mathew Ryan
As mentioned when talking about Patricio, Mat Ryan is the top keeper in terms of bonus points with 5, and third when it comes to saves, racking up 36 so far [1-Hart (41), 2-Fabianski (37)]. Much like Duffy, Ryan is in that £4.5m price bracket with some tasty fixtures that have great potential to continue their run of clean sheets.
Safe Pick – Harry Maguire
Patrick is at that nice price point where you could go pretty much anywhere depending on your budget, but if you’re looking for a locked in starter with great fixtures, then you’d be hard pressed to find better than Maguire. He’s a proven goal scoring centre-back, so far this season contributing two to Leicester’s goal tally. However, he could be in line for some more when coming up against sides like Cardiff, West Ham, and Burnley who have proved to have quite soft defences this season, especially from set pieces when Maguire’s threat level is at its highest.
Differential Pick – Héctor Bellerín
This may be a pick influenced by his recent form of 3 assists over the last two games against Fulham and Leicester. Bellerín, and Arsenal in general, have gone under the radar because of the low level of trust the FPL community have in the Gunners defence, of which can be anything but solid most of the time. However, they are now on a winning run of 7 in the Premier League, 2 of which with clean sheets to go along with them. Much like the point made with Patricio, when looking at Héctor’s upcoming fixtures, they don’t immediately shout out clean sheets. It is more the counter attacking football that Arsenal thrive in playing that could be his biggest potential source for points returns, because he’ll be coming up against teams that’ll push forward looking for goals rather than sitting back and parking the bus. He’s obviously up against Palace in gameweek 10, but then has tough fixtures against Liverpool (h), Wolves (h), and Bournemouth (a), the biggest factor of which is that they are at the Emirates for the two hardest games.
The Argument for Keeping Them
I can’t leave without trying to puta positive argument to keeping hold of any Palace players you might own. So here goes…Palace have poor starts to seasons, it’s what they do, you just have to look at last couple to see that. But, what they also do, is turn the form around with big results against big teams, like the victory over Chelsea last season. As a group, they will need to step u and be accounted for, otherwise they could find themselves inside the relegation zone come December. There’s no statistical support for sticking with Palace players, it’s all hope and faith which rarely lives up to the value placed upon them by FPL managers.
So, there’s some alternatives to a few of the higher owned Palace players, I currently only own Wan-Bissaka myself, and will keeping him on my bench waiting for the four games in the first two weeks of December. However, although it hurts to say so, I’d highly recommend looking elsewhere, at least until Palace’s form picks up. Fingers crossed its soon.