On the whole, it has been a decade to remember for Crystal Palace fans. The club was hanging by a thread at the beginning of the decade and while multiple highs and lows have followed since, the club is now into their seventh season in the Premier League. While the Premier League takes an enforced break, it is time to look back and pick the Crystal Palace team of the decade for the 2010s.
Team of the Decade: Crystal Palace
Goalkeeper: Julian Speroni
It takes a special character to spend 15 years at one club. Argentinian Julian Speroni departed the club at the end of last season despite having only featured sporadically across his last remaining seasons at Selhurst Park. Yet, he vacated adored by the fans.
During his time at Selhurst Park, he won four Player of the Year trophies and helped the club return to the Premier League after suffering relegation from the top-flight in his first season in south London.
Premier League promotion could arguably have not been achieved without Speroni. His save onto the bar against Brighton & Hove Albion in the Championship play-off semi-final will go down as one of the best in the club’s history.
Right-back: Joel Ward
The loyal servant returned to the starting line-up after a year of being kept out of the side by Aaron Wan-Bissaka without looking like he had ever left.
He is just one of two survivors from the squad that won promotion from the Championship in 2013. Having been the first player to join for a transfer fee after administration, Ward has performed magnificently across his tenure at Selhurst Park.
While there is no doubting Wan-Bissaka’s ability, Ward’s candid attitude and determination to keep his place has earned him a place in the team of the decade.
Centre-Back: Damien Delaney
The Irishman who was persuaded to join Palace and postpone retiring to become a triathlete earns a spot in this side.
Damien Delaney joined Palace in 2012 and was a mainstay in the starting line-up for much of his time with the club. Despite losing his place in the first-team towards the end of his time in south London, he was adored for his no-nonsense and tough-tackling approach to games.
Centre-Back: James Tomkins
Choosing who to partner Delaney at the heart of the defence is one of the tougher decisions in this team.
Earlier in the decade, Paddy McCarthy, Danny Gabbidon and Peter Ramage all performed magnificently for Palace. As the decade progressed and Palace progressed into the Premier League, it is James Tomkins and Mamadou Sakho who have caught the eye the most.
However, it is Tomkins who made the Palace team of the decade. The 30-year-old is similar to his Irish counterpart. He is a ‘typical Palace player’ and presents similar traits to Delaney. The 30-year-old, though, brings a calm-presence to this mythical defence.
Left-Back: Patrick van Aanholt
The Dutchman has taken this spot in Palace’s team of the decade. Left-back has not been a spot that has been pinned down by one member of the squad at any one time. It has chopped and changed over the decade, and as a result, van Aanholt’s overall quality is what has edged it for him.
While he can be inconsistent in defence, the Dutchman’s quality going forward has added an extra dimension to Roy Hodgson’s attack over the past two seasons.
Midfield: Mile Jedinak
Another member of the squad that earned promotion from the Championship in 2013. Much like Delaney, Mile Jedinak’s ‘tough’ approach to games is what earns him a place in the Crystal Palace team of the decade. The Australian was by no means blessed with quality on the ball, but his ability to break up play and protect the defence is what him standout.
Midfielder: Yohan Cabaye
Once the club’s record signing, the Frenchman was diminutive in stature but oozed class. Having signed from PSG, an element of class was expected.
He was the playmaker that those who attend Selhurst Park week in, week out had been craving since promotion to the Premier League. His immaculate passing complemented the defensive attributes of both Jedinak and Luka Milivojevic next to him.
Since his departure, the club has struggled to replace him, proving how valuable he was in the centre of midfield.
Midfielder: Darren Ambrose
As the cut-back to the edge of the area from Sean Scannell found Darren Ambrose, the midfielder had the freedom of Hillsborough to score for his side. His freedom allowed him to calmly slot past Lee Grant to make it 2-1 in the biggest game in the history of Crystal Palace Football Club.
That goal was his 20th of the season, but make or break for Palace. It was virtually life or death. The draw that followed sealed survival; a defeat would have meant relegation and likely bankruptcy. The Eagles had entered administration earlier that season and were on the verge of going out of business.
As a result, Ambrose is now a historic figure at Selhurst Park. He would go on to score a further 17 goals for the club before leaving for Birmingham City in 2012.
Left-Wing: Yannick Bolasie
Mesmerising. Magnificent. Dazzling. There are a plethora of words to describe Yannick Bolasie and his spellbinding trickery.
The Congolese international joined for an undisclosed fee in 2012 and was only expected to be a squad player. However, he went on to enjoy four successful years in south London, scoring 13 times and registering 21 assists.
One of three signings to have made the move to Selhurst Park in a single day, it is undoubtedly Bolasie who made the biggest impact with the club.
Right-Wing: Wilfried Zaha
The most obvious choice in this entire side. It is 353 appearances and counting for Wilfried Zaha at his boyhood club.
At times, the Ivorian is simply unplayable. A number of Premier League players have named him as the toughest opponent that they have faced, including Trent Alexander-Arnold and James Milner. In a world where there is both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, that is an impressive feat.
Sadly, he will eventually leave the club in the near future. When he does, he will be remembered for being one of the most talented players to have ever graced the turf in SE25.
Striker: Glenn Murray
Completing the line-up is the current Brighton striker who turned into a hero at Selhurst Park.
Glenn Murray’s 31-goal season is what helped the club earn promotion and return to the Premier League in the 2012/13 season. He scored a countless number of important goals to help Ian Holloway’s side reach the play-offs. While he missed the second-leg of the semi-final and the final, without him, it is likely that they would not have made it there.
Manager: Roy Hodgson
The current manager at Selhurst Park has performed magnificently on a shoestring budget. He rescued the club from a near embarrassing season to help continue maintaining their Premier League status.
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