Premier League: Crystal Palace Need to Buy Clever to Survive in Top Flight
Crystal Palace have secured promotion to the English Premier League after an extra time victory over Watford in the playoff final.
Fans, players and staff will celebrate tonight and rightly so. Perfect tactical victories over two superb footballing sides in Brighton and Watford have seen Ian Holloway's men victorious at Wembley.
The Eagles came into the showpiece event in wretched form, stumbling over the line to reach the playoffs courtesy of a final day victory over relegated Peterborough—their first for an astonishing nine games.
And when the dust settles, Palace chiefs will know they've got to get this summer spot on if they have any hope of surviving the drop next season.
That's not to take away from the club's wonderful achievement, but football never sleeps and forward planning starts the very next morning. The first conundrum to solve, it seems, is how Palace are going to score goals next season.
If you can't stick it in the net you've got no chance of staying up. Aston Villa, threatened with relegation in 2011, signed Darren Bent for £24 million and his nine goals kept them up.
Reading, Bolton and Blackburn have all dropped into the Championship in recent seasons due to a lack of goals, and Palace's striking issue looks similar at this point.
His ingenuity on the ball, eight goals and countless assists have dragged Palace into this position, and the club will be extremely lucky to get him back on loan again for their EPL campaign.
Glenn Murray suffered a horrific knee injury against Brighton, leaving only Kevin Phillips and Aaron Wilbraham on duty. The former told Sky Sports' cameras after the game that he's considering retirement, and the latter scored just once in 27 games this season.
In Julian Speroni, they have a wonderful goalkeeper, and in Damien Delaney a committed centre-back. Captain Mile Jedinak is heralded by Palace fans but lacks finesse, and a Daily Mail report linking him to Stoke City is unsettling to say the least.
Ian Holloway has been relegated once and will know what's required of him to go the extra steps to survival. It cannot be denied, though, that this squad is in the process of a serious transition at the worst possible time.
Every penny of the £60 million Palace won't use to renovate their facilities is needed on Premier League quality players, especially considering many of the teams in the bottom half this season are in a position to improve immeasurably in the 2013-14 campaign.
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