Projected starting XI
Wayne Hennessey; Jairo Riedewald, Scott Dann, Luka Milivojevic; Patrick van Aanholt, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Yohan Cabaye, Andros Townsend; Jason Puncheon, Christian Benteke, Wilfried Zaha
Are you happy with ownership? Elated? Cautiously optimistic? Furious?
Any sane Palace fan (and there are a few) has the utmost respect for what Steve Parish has done for the club. When he -- along with the three fellow CPFC2010 directors -- rescued the club from the icy grip of the administrator and the Bank of Scotland, this was the beginning of a remarkable renaissance that has evolved over the last seven years.
Not only did they save Palace from rack and ruin but they steadied the good ship Eagle to calmer waters with astute management and were rewarded with an unlikely promotion to the Premier League via the playoffs in 2013 (for anyone with an interest in the playoffs as a concept, I wrote a book which comprehensively covers their history going back to the origins 30 years ago.)
That we now are about to start our fifth consecutive season in the top flight for the first time in more than 110 years is a testament to what has happened since Paris took over in the dark days of 2010. With so many clubs struggling under the burden of awful, disaffected owners (see Blackburn, Charlton, Coventry, Leyton Orient etc.) we are fortunate to have had owners with the best interests of the club in their hearts. They are genuine fans who have proved beyond doubt that the most important attribute of good ownership is belief in the club as being at the heart of the local community.
What’s the highest reasonable goal your team has and what needs to go right to get there?
After having to look nervously over our shoulder for most of our tenure in the Premier League the idea of going into the last few months without the spectre of relegation hovering in the South London air would be appreciated. So as there is pretty much a three-way split in the division where the top six is already set in stone, it would be rather nice to be in the middle category of clubs, such as Everton and Southampton, who look up and even end up on the verge of qualifying for Europe.
For that to happen Frank de Boer has to hit the ground running and his Dutch revolution must be started without too many hitches. However, transition is a dirty word in SE25 as Alan Pardew was rather too fond of the concept and it led to our disastrous form in calendar year 2016 when Palace had the worst league record of all 92 clubs in English league football. Hopefully rather than experiencing a bust we can expect an Oranje Boom.
What are you scared of that might derail your season?
As with most middle-ranking PL teams, we are most worried about losing one of our star players as there is an over-reliance on their performances. So Wilfried Zaha needs to stay fit despite the campaign of assault and battery that will be heading his way. Currently we do not have a backup for Christian Benteke who scored 17 goals last season -- the most by a Palace striker in the PL since Andy Johnson in 2003/04.
The other main concern revolves around how quickly de Boer's new system of playing will bed in as this is quite a tactical diversion from previous paths. Such adaptation rarely goes smoothly so there needs to be some leeway afforded to the new manager and if we get off to a slow start the dark clouds will build over our Selhurst Park.
Who’s a player on your team that neutrals might not know much about, but should become fans of?
Luka Milivojevic arrived in January as part of Sam Allardyce's rescue plan and was as important an addition as the headline-grabbing Mamadou Sakho. The Serbian sured up what had been a shaky midfield with his calm assurance allied with his strong tackling and passing ability under pressure. He is not the sort of player who attracts attention but he is an absolute gem. He has been played as part of a back three recently by de Boer which he has done with aplomb but he has admitted that he prefers a midfield position.
Who will be your team’s MVP this season, and why?
Expectations are already high that Jairo Riedewald will make a massive impact in his first season in English football. Although he is only 20 years old he grew up in the Ajax Academy under de Boer's guidance and considering others such as Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and Christian Eriksen have forged a successful furrow in the Premier League, the hope is he continues in the same vein.
Main photo: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images