How Oliver Glasner Is Making the Eagles Fly Again

Crystal Palace have ended the 2023/24 season in red-hot fashion under new manager Oliver Glasner with 21 points from their final 11 matches — only Chelsea (24), Arsenal (28) and Manchester City (29) picked up more during that time span. Having replaced Roy Hodgson at Selhurst Park on February 19, the Austrian took charge of a Eagles side that looked headed for an ominous relegation battle, and yet, he has turned the tide and brought the good times back to South London.


Glasner, who led Eintracht Frankfurt to Europa League glory in 2022, has signed a deal until the end of the 2025-26 season. His appointment came at a crucial time, with Palace winless in their last seven Premier League games and just five points clear of the drop zone prior to his appointment. They have ended the campaign in 10th place, 23 points clear of the drop.


Michael Olise: Crystal Palace’s Orchestrator on the Flanks


The 48-year-old is known for his adaptable approach, often deploying a 3-4-2-1 formation to great effect. His teams are characterized by their quick transitions and ability to control possession. Glasner has a reputation for improving teams and getting the best out of his players, qualities that has been essential in Palace’s battle to stay up through their sharp turnaround in form.


Palace have been on a tear since Glasner took over in February, taking 19 points from a possible 21 in their last seven matches. The Eagles have been particularly impressive against top-half opposition, securing a first-ever league double over Manchester United with a stunning 4-0 victory at Selhurst Park and thrashing Aston Villa 5-0 on the final day.


Glasner’s men followed that up with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Liverpool and a 3-1 triumph against West Ham United. The Palace boss was delighted with his players’ collective displays, praising their energy, intensity, and offensive approach.


The highlight of Palace’s recent run came in a dominant 2-0 victory over Newcastle United, which mathematically secured their Premier League safety. Jean-Philippe Mateta starred with a brace, taking his tally to eight goals in just nine appearances under Glasner.


Chris Richards: Crystal Palace’s American Defender


The veteran tactician has instilled a newfound sense of optimism at Selhurst Park, with the team’s performances showcasing their potential under his guidance. Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise have been instrumental in Palace’s resurgence, and Glasner will be hoping to keep his key players fit as the season reaches its climax.


 Glasner has set his sights on finishing the campaign strongly, telling his players to “get addicted to winning games”. If Palace can maintain their current form, they could secure a top-half finish and provide a platform for an exciting 2024-25 season under their new manager.


Glasner’s Style and Philosophy


Having been known for deploying a 3-4-2-1 back in Germany, it was perhaps unsurprising to see a similar set-up at Palace, though the quickness of how quickly these tactics were assimilated and translated into performances has come as a surprise to many. 


In Possession


Glasner’s Palace have a similar shape and positional structure similar to Bayer Leverkusen this term, with both sides deploying a back 3 wherein the width is provided by attacking fullbacks.



This shape includes the two no 10s which are Eze and Olise on either side, roles that suit both players and their quality in between the lines to receive, turn and execute actions in the box instantaneously. However, this shape isn’t a rigid one and often morphs based on the game’s state, for instance rather than operating solely in the half-space, both Eze and Olise are capable of providing width and initiating carriers from out wide.



This relativity in attacking patterns has helped support Palace’ attacking duo and give them the right platform to succeed due to the freedom of expression their role affords them. Mateta has also been a key cog in the resurgence of the Eagles since Glasner was appointed, with his hold play helping in maintaining attacks whilst also giving the of ball runners time to occupy space in the attacking third.




Early signs indicate that there is a conscious effort to implement a more deep build model approach in the long term, with the 2-3 build-up being a more frequent pattern under Glasner, though perhaps recognizing the limitations of both squad technical capacity as well as limited time, the patterns have varied, with the quicker transitions being more frequent. Mateta has also had his strength and holdup play utilised as a target forward and channel runner, all of which make him a capable outlet for more direct buildups


Transitional Play


After ball recovery or a successful build-up, Palace often seek to play vertical passes before ultimately arriving centrally either through direct passes into the 10s or through crosses by the fullbacks into the box. January signing Adam Wharton has also seen his influence rapidly grown, particularly through his passing, his switch of play spontaneously catching defences off guard, his 15.8 passes p90 in the opposition half, 74% of which are accurate, quantitatively define his influence in Palace’ transitions.


Out of Possession



One of the primary shapes for Palace’ out-of-possession structure is the 3-4-3, where the fullbacks push up on either side of simultaneously, thereby engaging in a high press. The shape takes a more conservative approach relative to opposition or the game state, which sees the fullbacks fall into deeper positions, morphing the shape into a 5-2-3 mid/deep block.


Palace’s technical flexibility in full flow


A New Era Begins


Oliver Glasner’s appointment marks a new chapter for Crystal Palace, as the club seeks to stabilize, rebuild and mould themselves anew. The Eagles’ faithful will be hoping that the experienced Austrian can bring much-needed stability and success to the team.


Since Glasner’s arrival in February, the Eagles have soared to new heights, Palace has amassed an impressive 24 points, boasting a healthy goal difference of +15. This remarkable turnaround has propelled the team to midtable in the Premier League table and finishing in the top half, a far cry from their 16th-place standing when Roy Hodgson departed.


Crystal Palace: A Change Has Come


Glasner’s impact has been nothing short of phenomenal, with Palace collecting more than double the points of Manchester United since his takeover. The team’s fortunes have dramatically shifted, from teetering on the brink of relegation to now eyeing a top half finish.


The Austrian tactician’s influence has revitalized Selhurst Park, injecting a newfound sense of optimism and belief among the Palace faithful. The fact that Bayern were willing to pay so highly to price him away from the South London side says a lot about his perception in the game, perhaps this will be start of a bright new era for both Glasner and Palace.


By: @free__flowing

Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Bryn Lennon / Getty Images