PALACE fan Dan Gibbs is currently on work experience this week with the Advertiser sports desk and has given us his view on how Palace will do next season… Predicted second favourites to go down at the start of the 2012/13 season in the Championship. Predicted favourites to go down last season. The outcome? Palace go up via the play-offs. Palace finish 11th in the Premier League. The phrase "defying the odds" is somewhat built into Palace's mindsets; the club, the players and the fans. Not even the most optimistic of Palace fans could have predicted an 11th place finish last year but we can't get cocky. Staying up will again be the main priority this season. There are still a lot of teams that are all at a similar level and anyone can beat anyone in the bottom half of the table. There will be a few of us who'll want us to be challenging for a top half finish but if we're staying grounded, avoiding the drop and doing so without the stress of going into the final games will be enough for Palace this season. Of course we'd love a few upsets against the big four and doing the double over any of our London rivals would go a long way. A cup run would be nice too. But is that asking for too much? So far we haven't had too much to rant and rave about in the transfer window, Fraizer Campbell will be a welcomed addition to our squad but I am more excited about Marouane Chamakh staying at the club. There's no doubt about it, Chamakh has one of the worst haircuts a footballer has ever seen. A tub of hair gel, a bit of a comb-over and a ruffle through with his hands looks to be the pre-match routine for the Moroccan striker. But let's discuss his footballing abilities, shall we? The giggles begin. "What footballing ability?" a non-Palace fan would laugh. "The same footballing ability that you have not witnessed all season," a Palace fan would argue back. People mocked Palace when Ian Holloway signed Chamakh back in August 2013 but the truth is he played a pivotal role in keeping Palace up last season. It wasn't just his five goals and two assists in 32 appearance that helped Palace, his playing style helped Palace improve massively on the pitch. Of course he can be a bit clumsy in some situations on the pitch, falling over at the wrong time, trying to be too clever when at times a simple pass is all that's needed and his decision to go down in the box against Southampton looking for a penalty when he was in a position to score was crazy. Despite this, the 30-year-old striker is a technically gifted individual. Skilful and powerful on the ball with great control, he has played brilliantly in the number 10 role for the Eagles. Whether it be holding the ball up to play it off to the pacey wingers of Yannick Bolasie and Jason Puncheon or tracking back to complete his defensive duties, Chamakh is definitely a team player. Perhaps too unselfish at times. His confidence will be at an all-time high having recently signed a new two-year deal at Palace and given the chance I think he will flourish in the top-flight next season. In the end, it doesn't matter who gets our goals as long as we get those vital points and defy the odds again. Palace are currently 11/4 to be relegated in case you were wondering.
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