Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira was hailed as “brilliant” after the club’s emphatic Premier League victory on Monday Night Football by Sky Sports reporter Michael Bridge.
Prior to the season starting, Vieira was among the favourites to be the first manager sacked and his team to be relegated this season after their complete summer overhaul of the squad which saw 11 first-team players leave, including the likes of Andros Townsend and Gary Cahill. They have since been replaced by Marc Guehi, Joachim Andersen, Michael Olise, Odsonne Edouard and Will Hughes.
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However, things could not be more different as we approach the conclusion of the season. After Monday’s win over Arsenal, the south London outfit find themselves sitting ninth in the table and have earned a trip to Wembley in the FA Cup semi-final, where they will face Chelsea.
A big reason for their success this season has been the introduction of a new system under the former Nice manager. They have thrown away the rigid defensive plan from former boss Roy Hodgson in favour of a free-flowing, possession-based system under Vieira, a breath of fresh air for players like Wilfried Zaha and Eberechi Eze.
Many in the world of football have begun to recognise the team’s development under the Frenchman since his arrival, and Bridge shared his amazement on Twitter.
He wrote: “Patrick Vieira doing a brilliant job at Palace. Sensational summer recruitment paying off. A joy to watch.”
TIF Thoughts on Vieira’s turnaround…
No one could have foreseen the instant impact Vieira has had on Palace before the season started. They have progressed from one of the most boring teams to watch under Hodgson to a team that fans love to watch, whether you support the Eagles or not.
From being tipped for relegation before the start of the season to battling it out for a top-half finish with the likes of Leicester City, Aston Villa,and Southampton, it is indisputable that Vieira has done an incredible job in his first season as a Premier League manager.
There is a chance Palace could finish the season with a major trophy as well, which if they win, could have Vieira already in the argument of their best-ever manager. There is no telling that with the right investment and time, Palace could go even further under the Premier League Hall of Fame player.
But they’ll have to keep hold of him first.