Palace land a different Chelsea target, but should be satisfied

Alan Pardew has long wanted to nab a Chelsea striker as one of his summer signings. But when it became clear that Loic Remy wouldn not be one of them, the Crystal Palace boss plumped for the Blues’ prodigious young talent instead.

The Eagles confirmed that Patrick Bamford will join them for a season-long loan, landing themselves a player to which the stereotype “fox in the box” genuinely applies.

Bamford and Palace should be a good fit this season. Last term, while claiming the Championship’s Player of the Year on loan at Middlesbrough, the 21-year-old scored 17 league goals, with 15 of them coming from inside the penalty area.

Upon his unveiling as a temporary Eagle Bamford said: “I like to get in behind the defence. I would say I am deceptively quick.”

That misleading speed, when combined with the more in-your-face pace of wingers Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha, gives Palace a real cutting edge in front of goal for the coming campaign.

While Bamford, by his own admission, likes stretching defences, he can also finish, which bodes well for the Selhurst Park outfit considering the number of crosses Bolasie and Zaha fired in last term.

In fact, the 9/5 top-10 chances crossed 833 balls into the box last term, a figure that put them within the Premier League’s top eight.

Glenn Murray obviously fed off such service, leading the clubs scoring charts with seven goals, all of them in the penalty area. Dwight Gayle, on the other hand, didn’t enjoy the high proportion of crosses and, in Bamford, Pardew now has a striker that brings the qualities of both men to the table in one package.

With Yohan Cabaye now in situ to thread balls through to the strikers from a central position as well, the Eagles are looking an increasingly solid side as the start of the new season approaches.

Palace open their campaign with a trip to newly promoted Norwich, with Ladbrokes making them 7/4 outsiders for victory.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.