Crystal Palace's Greatest XI of the Premier League Era

Crystal Palace have a real love-hate relationship with the Premier League. They were one of the founding members of the Premier League in 1992, but initially struggled to maintain their position in the division.


Their first four seasons in the top flight, spread out over 13 years, all ended in relegation. However, the fifth time proved to be the charm for the club, who have been a permanent fixture in the top tier since 2013.


The club have had some great players, and here is their best ever starting XI in the Premier League era.

1. GK: Julian Speroni

Nigel Martyn came close, but legendary shot-stopper Julian Speroni has to take this spot. 


His 400 appearances for the club since 2004 have earned him the club record in the Premier League era, and he's been responsible for earning the club countless points. He has kept 109 clean sheets and was awarded the club's Player of the Year award three times in a row from 2007 to 2010, and once again in 2014.


He has also won the Supporter's Player of the Year award on four occasions and is a real hero amongst the fans. Speroni has always remained loyal to the club, despite their difficulties both on and off the pitch. Quite simply, he deserves to be regarded as one of the club's greatest ever players.

2. LB: Dean Gordon

Did Dean Gordon possess the greatest left foot in the club's history? Probably.


Gordon progressed through the youth academy at Selhurst Park, signing his first professional contract in 1991. He made 241 appearances for the club until his departure in 1998. 


His three spells in the Premier League all ended with relegation, which is not the most positive record for a defender. However, he was a very strong tackler, and his offensive capabilities were the stuff of legends.


His attacking runs often resulted in goals for his teammates, and Gordon was also partial to the occasional screamer, such as his vicious strike against Bolton in 1998. 

3. RB: Joel Ward

Right-back has never been Crystal Palace's strongest position, but Joel Ward deserves credit for the work he has done with the team.


He joined the club in 2012 for £400,000 and has made over 200 appearances for the Eagles. Ward was influential in getting Palace promoted to the Premier League, and has been a consistently reliable option for the side regardless of where he was deployed on the pitch.


The 28-year-old currently holds the record for the most Premier League appearances by a Crystal Palace player, highlighting his importance in the side's most positive period in the top flight.

4. CB: Chris Coleman

Chris Coleman was voted into the side's Centenary XI by fans in 2005, a reward for his fantastic performances for the club between 1991 and 1995.


This period included two spells in the Premier League, during which Coleman's work ethic and determination were second to none. He was a very solid defender and was never to blame for the side's struggles. 


He also boasted an impressive goalscoring record as he was frequently utilised as a centre forward when the club were desperate for goals. He contributed greatly at both ends of the field, and fully merits his position in the Centenary XI.

5. CB: Scott Dann

Mamadou Sakho has been an incredible signing for Crystal Palace, but prime Scott Dann was a step above.


After joining in 2014, Dann enjoyed two phenomenal years with Crystal Palace, with many English fans pleading for Dann to be included in Roy Hodgson's England side. Despite his impressive form, Dann never represented England at senior level.


He was a huge factor during Crystal Palace's only ever top-half finish in the Premier League, as the side finished tenth in 2015. The 31-year-old's form has dramatically dipped in recent years, but the Scott Dann of 2015 deserves a lot of credit.

6. CM: Gareth Southgate

England's latest footballing hero began his career at Selhurst Park, emerging as an incredibly talented and versatile youngster. Gareth Southgate began as a right-back before transitioning into an effective midfielder.


He is one of the youngest captains in the history of the club, and 75 of his 152 Crystal Palace appearances came during two spells in the Premier League. He was instrumental in guiding the side to the FA and League Cup semi-finals in 1995, and did not deserve to suffer relegation twice with the side.


Southgate's impressive form saw him leave the club following their second relegation from the Premier League, as he undoubtedly deserved to remain in the top flight. He was converted back into a defender after leaving the club, but his influence on Crystal Palace as a midfielder can never be forgotten.

7. CM: Geoff Thomas

Regarded by some as one of the greatest to ever represent Crystal Palace, Geoff Thomas was at Crystal Palace for only one season in the Premier League. He was the captain of the side during arguably the most successful period in the history of the club.


The 1992/93 season was his final with the club, and unfortunately ended in relegation. However, he made 29 appearances during that season and was one of the few shining lights in an otherwise bitterly disappointing campaign.


His best performances were undoubtedly before the Premier League era, but he was still a fantastic player in 1993. He offered everything in midfield, proving to be a key figure both offensively and defensively. His performances justify his reputation as one of the club's greatest ever.

8. CM: Attilio Lombardo

When it comes to Crystal Palace's best ever player, Attilio Lombardo is the easy choice. The Champions League winner shocked the world by leaving Juventus and joining the newly-promoted Crystal Palace in 1997.


He was believed to be several levels ahead of his teammates, and ended up proving that he was indeed a superstar. 31-year-old Lombardo instantly became a hit at Selhurst Park, and was of a calibre which had never been seen before at Crystal Palace.


Despite their immediate relegation, Lombardo opted to remain with the club, but was subsequently sold to help ease the club's financial difficulties. He only made 49 appearances for the club, but was voted into the Centenary XI as a result of his immense abilities.

9. FW: Chris Armstrong

Chris Armstrong is a controversial inclusion on this list, as his Crystal Palace career hit fantastic highs and shocking lows.


He joined the club in 1992 for the inaugural Premier League season and managed to score an incredible 23 goals during the campaign, a record for any Crystal Palace player in the top flight. Despite Armstrong's best efforts, the club was relegated, just as they were a few years later after he netted another 18 Premier League goals.


However, Armstrong became the first Premier League player to fail a drugs test when he tested positive for cannabis in 1995. Fortunately for Armstrong, a brief rehab period was all that was required of him and he was back playing within a month.


Despite his controversies, Armstrong is remembered as one of the top two finishers in the club's Premier League history.

10. FW: Andy Johnson

The other name who is discussed as one of Crystal Palace's most clinical Premier League strikers is Andy Johnson. 


He arrived at the club to little fanfare, as he was used as a £750,000 makeweight in a deal which saw Clinton Morrison leave the club in 2002. However, Johnson transformed into a deadly striker almost as soon as he arrived at the club.


When the club were promoted to the Premier League once again in 2004, Johnson played like his life depended on it. He struck an incredible 21 goals, finishing only behind Thierry Henry in the race for the Golden Boot.


Despite his best efforts, Palace were relegated from the league yet again. Despite it being his only season in the Premier League with Crystal Palace, finishing as the second-best striker in the country deserves a huge amount of credit.

11. FW: Wilfried Zaha

Wilfried Zaha has the potential to become the club's greatest player in history, as his ability and influence on the team is sublime.


He frequently bewilders defenders with his electric pace and dribbling skills, and is also adding goals to his game. Like Speroni, Zaha has won the Player of the Year award at the club on three consecutive occasions, and stands a chance of winning it for a record-breaking fourth consecutive time if he can keep up his fantastic form next season.


The 25-year-old has already made 287 appearances for the club, and continues to be linked with a move to one of Europe's elite clubs. The fact that Sir Alex Ferguson opted to make Zaha his final ever signing before his retirement shows that his talent and potential is incredible.


Regardless of whether he stays or leaves, Zaha deserves his place on this list. He is a phenomenal talent, the likes of which are rarely seen at Crystal Palace. Once again, the club will face a huge battle to keep Zaha at the club this summer.