Welcome back to the Party at the Palace. If you haven't caught any of the previous posts, you can start from the beginning here.
Right, let's get to the start of the new episode.
We begin our 6th season with Palace at a bit of a Crossroads. Although we have seen success in Domestic cups and European competition we have really failed to take that next step in the League.
Our League positions over the 5 seasons we have been in charge really reflect that.
1st Season - 13th
2nd Season - 8th
3rd Season - 9th
4th Season - 11th
5th Season - 9th
I really feel like to take that next step we need a huge boost in reputation and funds.
We have always had to sell to buy which has really hampered our chances of building a squad capable of fighting the rigors of a Premier league season.
With this all being said lets take a look at the changes around the club in the run up to Pre Season.
Off Field News
The supporter profile once again showed that we have serious demand for season tickets as the waiting list sits at an astonishing 38.2k .
We once again chance our arm and raise this to the board in the hope they see sense and try and develop Selhurst Park.....
We have progress. They have agreed to works expanding the stadium to 28,000 capacity, that is an increase of around 3,000. Its a small step but its a start.
Sadly, this did have an adverse affect on the on field budget.
I am really really keen to keep this squad of players together so we may be looking at one of two players joining us permanently this year.
We did see a nice increase in European reputation after our run to the semi final of the Europa League last season.
The expectations were set too and they are as expected.
As mentioned above, the transfer business this window will be minimal due to the less than ideal finances.
In fact, we managed to make one signing with only youth players leaving on loan for development. Lets meet the new recruit.
Marco Carvalho, A young Portuguese defender who can also do a role as defensive midfielder. He is an immediate first team player who adds real strength in depth in two positions. Really excited about this acquisition.
Pre Season was spent on a tour in the USA.
As productive tour with just the one defeat coming at the hands of RB Leipzig.
Just as we were making our final preparations I received the below message.
Lets see how this progresses over the season.
New season with a renewed hope that we can take another positive step to growing the club as a whole.
Lets get to the action.
The epitome of a mixed bag. Strong home win to open the season, followed by a thrashing at the hands of Man City.
A more reserved performance at home to Leicester saw two evenly matched teams take a point each.
We also started our latest journey in the Europa Conference League. In the League Path Third Qualifying Round.
Well we almost didn't make it out of the Third Qualifying Round, needing penalties to progress passed Stromsgodset.
AaB were up next and proved an easier test as a clinical 4-0 win at home put the tie to bed in the first leg. We are through to the League Phase of the competition.
With the added pressure of qualifying for the Europa Conference League phase gone, we can focus fully on our League start. With a mixed bag month to start we had a chance to get the season really going.
We've matched Augusts league form almost perfectly. Good away win at Burnley followed by a classic London Derby. The Leeds result was frustrating as we should be performing better against teams of that stature.
We also started our League Phase campaign in the Europa Conference League.
A nice easy victory against Armenian minnows who we have played against previously at this stage of this competition.
We reach October without finding our feet in the league quite yet. There have been signs of promise but we have let ourselves down with some silly results.
This is a much more pleasing month when you drill down into it. We lost to a late United goal at Old Trafford, but put that result behind us to trash Spurs 3-0 at home.
Another 3-0 win, this time away at Wolves saw us win back to back league games for the first time this year.
We ended the month with a defeat at home to Liverpool. Who scored 2 goals in the last 15 minutes to halt our improvement.
Our second game of the League Phase was also in October as we welcomed Sligo Rovers to Selhurst Park.
Another comfortable win with 2 goals from Nico Adam. A strong start in the Europa Conference League.
November Was our kindest fixture month to far with 3 real chances of 3 points. The hardest fixture being Newcastle at home.
6 points bagged as we dominate Newcastle and scrape by Nottingham Forest. A tough defeat to Brentford was hard to take as we played well and the score line definitely flattered them.
Two games also in Europe this month. Both should be slam dunks.
Very easy wins all round. Some rotation was also done too allowing a break before the carnage of December.
I feel like I say this every season but I don't think that I have ever seen a December quite like this one.
We have 8 League games to contend with as well as the final 2 games in the League Phase of the Europa League.
10 games in 30 days would put the strongest squad to the test so for us this is going to be a real examination.
There is so much to digest here, Lets start with the wins. Strong results at home with wins against Luton, West Brom and Villa. We drew our other home game against United to remain unbeaten at Selhurst Park in December.
Away points at Chelsea and Arsenal were a bonus with the two defeats coming away at Everton and Spurs. Its a manic month but i think we have navigated it well.
Our final 2 games in the League Phase of the Europa Conference appeared to be as straightforward as they come. But the games were right in the middle of the League carnage above.
Two more easy wins and we qualify for the Round of 16 top of the League Phase.
We sit in our usual spot at the turn of the year, flirting with the European places without really forcing our way into them. Could this be our season?
There were a couple of individual awards handed out during the first part to the season.
Roony Bardghji is awarded FIFA's Best U21 Men's Player.
Nico Adam has been Awarded the prestigious European Golden Boy. Won by the best of the best over the years this shows his potential for greatness. Cant wait to see him improve and improve.
That's the first half of season 6 covered.
Thank you for reading and keep your eyes peeled for the second half of the season soon.