New Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira will be looking to kick off his tenure at the club with an opening day victory against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Former England boss Roy Hodgson departed the south London outfit following four relatively successful years with the Eagles, and Vieira has wasted no time in making his mark on the playing squad.
Several ageing campaigners have left Selhurst Park on free transfers, while multiple young and exciting acquisitions have taken their place.
It’s an exciting new era for the capital club, but one full of unknowns as they head into what could be a tricky transitional period.
Vieira will be unable to call upon long-term absentees Eberechi Eze and Nathan Ferguson for the short trip from south to west London, and the Frenchman confirmed that Luka Milivojevic and Michael Olise will join the pair on the sidelines.
“Luka is not going to be with us against Chelsea. He’s been missing the last couple of days of training for personal reasons,” Vieira revealed in Friday’s press conference.
When asked about the fitness of summer signing Olise, the former Nice manager replied: “Michael is feeling better. In the next two weeks he will be starting to do some work on the field.”
However, one new arrival in line for his debut is centre-back Joachim Anderson, with Vieira confirming that the Denmark international will be part of the matchday squad.
“We’re going to do our last training this afternoon. He will be part of the squad, yes,” he concluded.
With that in mind, here’s how Football Fan Cast thinks Vieira will line up his side for the tricky trip to Stamford Bridge…
The ever-dependable Vicente Guaita will resume his residency between the sticks for Palace this afternoon, keeping former England international Jack Butland on the bench.
Ahead of the Spaniard, both Marc Guehi and Andersen are set to make their debuts following their arrivals from Chelsea and Lyon respectively. They’ll be flanked by 21-year-old academy graduate Tyrik Mitchell and the experienced Joel Ward at full-back.
In midfield, Jairo Riedewald will provide the base to Palace’s engine room in Milivojevic’s absence, while loanee Conor Gallagher is ineligible to feature against his parent club. That means Jeffrey Schlupp and Cheikhou Kouyate should feature from the off.
Talisman Wilfried Zaha remains at his boyhood club despite openly expressing his desire to seek pastures new and should be partnered by Christian Benteke and Jordan Ayew in the front three.
That lineup will see Vieira make four changes from the last starting XI Hodgson selected against Liverpool on the closing day of 2020/21, highlighting the new chapter beginning in south London.