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Crystal Palace are heading in the right direction under Oliver Glasner

It’s too late for Crystal Palace to achieve anything meaningful beyond Premier League survival this season, but the signs are that the Eagles are preparing for an extremely positive 2024/25 campaign. Recent wins over Liverpool and West Ham have lifted up to 14th in the table, but perhaps more profoundly they have highlighted a team being remoulded.

Oliver Glasner has only been in place at Selhurst Park since February, but the German coach is already changing Crystal Palace’s identity on the pitch. Indeed, they are now playing a more proactive, modern style of play than was ever the case under Roy Hodgson. The Eagles are flying at the moment.

Against Liverpool at Anfield, Palace were sharp on the rapid counter attack. They turned the ball over in the centre of the pitch by applying pressure and activating pressing triggers and moved it forward quickly into the likes of Jean-Philippe Mateta, Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise, all of whom caused the hosts major problems.

Against West Ham, though, Crystal Palace were the team in control. They had the majority of possession and were in excellent in every phase of the game from the defensive line through to the attack. Off the ball, Palace were energetic and close down the Hammers quickly. On the ball, they were sharp and made good decisions.

“I’m not happy talking about one, two or three players here,” Glasner said after the impressive 5-2 victory over West Ham. “This is the job of the offensive players; they should score goals. They see now that when they work together, in offence and defence, they create chances. When you are connected, you can play together. That’s our headline.”

At Eintracht Frankfurt, Glasner was renowned for his 3-4-2-1 shape and he has carried that formation into his tenure as Crystal Palace manager. This shape has given the Eagles security at the back and a foothold in the centre of the pitch, as well as space for attackers to work with in the final third.

In Eze and Olise, Crystal Palace have two genuine difference-makers who are capable of producing something out of nothing. There is reported interest in Olise from Chelsea and Manchester United, so keeping hold of the 22-year-old beyond the summer might prove difficult, but the pair have the talent to push the Eagles up into the top half of the table were they to stay.

The way Mateta is playing at the moment, Palace might also have a tough job on their hands to keep hold of the Frenchman this summer. Mateta has made the Eagles’ attack a triple threat with Crystal Palace an extremely fluid team in the final third. This is something Glasner has harnessed during his short time in charge.

Palace have wanted a coach like Glasner for a long time. Their fans have demanded a more modern style of play for years, and Patrick Vieira delivered this in a sense for a period. However, it took a second stint from Hodgson to keep Crystal Palace in the Premier League last season. One step forward was followed by another back and the Eagles essentially stayed in the same place as a result.

This is why there is so much riding on Glasner as Palace boss. He hasn’t just been hired to achieve results. He is in place at Selhurst Park to change the culture and identity of an entire club and there are indications that the needle is starting to move. The recent wins over Liverpool and West Ham could be the start of something special for the Eagles.

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