Crystal Palace – The Opposition View

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Palace away next. The Eagles were soaring last time we met, they’d just despatched Liverpool and they undoubtedly had the better chances in our game at WHL. That despatching of the unloveable Scousers was their last league win though and they now sit in the bottom three. It’s all gone horribly wrong, but why? I scoured the pubs and bars of Croydon until I found life long Glazier Mike and was able to distract him from his bottom of the glass contemplations for long enough to ask him a few questions about our opponents on Saturday.

So since we last spoke another Palace manager has been asked to clear his desk. Who do you think you are, Spurs? Did you agree with the decision to usher Warnock from the premises once more? 

With the Premier League being by far the biggest league in the world I think the pressure on the managers is far higher than most of us can imagine.  Warnock, even with all his experience looked lost in the last few games and against Southampton his decisions just became a menace.   In fairness to the Chairman I think Warnock made the decision for him.  I like Warnock, I’m just not sure he is ruthless and focused enough anymore to manage at the top level.

Some reports suggested that the home support had a lot to do with the timing of the decision; the fans were apparently noticeably quiet in the second half against Southampton. Was that the case and was it a conscious decision to make a point do you think?

The main Palace fan group the Holmesdale Fanatics held a ‘quiet’ protest for the second half against Southampton.  I believe this was planned prior to the game but with our collapse it was echoed across the ground.  We have played most of the season without looking like scoring a goal (ok so we put 3 past Liverpool, but hey who doesn’t these days).  It really does start to get irritating after dominating games then losing 1-0 when they take their chance and we fail to take any of our half dozen.  Playing at White Hart Lane was a case in point, where Spurs clearly had more skill, but we got our tactics right, and if we had someone, anyone capable of finding the target we would not now be in the relegation zone.

Was Pardew brought in because he’s used to dissent amongst the fans? 

There’s really not a lot of dissent among Palace fans, if however we continue to play without a recognised goal scorer that could soon change.   He is as well a proper quality big name manager, which we didn’t have in Warnock.  I won’t pretend Pardew coming to us is a bigger team, but maybe he decided to come somewhere they speak English.  Also he’s our hero, Mr Semi Final, scorer in both the 1990 FA Cup Semi Final and the home leg of the ZDS semi final the next season against Norwich.

I presume the new manager has been saying all the right things?

I’m not sure how likeable Pardew is as he hasn’t done the normal gushing interviews about the club, instead he has been very clear about what he wants and the job that needs doing.  Pulis (as much as saying his name makes me want to spit) was very similar, professional and clear about what he wants.  The main thing he has done right is the 4-0 win over Dover, yes non-league, but a great result and one he clearly managed.

I also presume that Pards was brought in at this time so that he could make good use of the transfer window. Do you anticipate much movement? Last time we spoke you suggested that you were in desperate need of a decent striker.

I wouldn’t have wanted someone out of touch with the modern game spending my money and I think Parish feels the same.  We have Glen Murray back, which is a big step forward, but I think we also need one other proven goal scorer to add competition up front.  We are also in desperate need of a left back, Zeki Fryers has made only one appearance since joining from you and according to Mark Bright who is close to the club hasn’t been pushing for a first team place despite being our only recognised left back.  Guys you sold us a dud one and we want our money back!

Hugo Lloris did as much as anyone to ensure that the game remained goalless last time we met. Your lads will have taken confidence from that match I’m sure and will be looking forward to this game?

I always fancied us doing well at the Lane but was surprised at quite how well we played.  We are better set up for away games, and I think at Selhurst we may struggle to make the running in the game.  We will be missing our captain Jedinak, and Bolasie who are both away on international duty, so even with the boost of the new manager I’m sure this will be a difficult one for us.

Has anyone in particular in your side been playing well despite the poor run of results?

James McArthur has put in constantly strong performances and is somewhat of an unsung hero in the side.  Following the FA Cup game it turns out Scott Dann is a goal machine so I hope that continues (when no one score goals, two from a defender is a new year miracle for us).

Our season took an unexpected twist on New Year’s Day when we thumped Chelsea, has that result struck fear into your collective hearts?

What an amazing result for your boys and one that has opened up the top of the table again.  I’m not sure it has struck fear, but it’s not the time we want to be playing you.  We’ve scored 3 goals in out last 8 league games, so just the notion of 5 goals in one game is a little confusing for us!

Whilst we’re not totally reliant upon him, Harry Kane is very much leading Spurs forward at present; do Palace have the wherewithal to stop the man that Chelsea couldn’t? 

Our defence in the last few games has been very good.  We’ve conceded a not terrible 9 goals in those same last 8 games, 3 were against a rampant Man City and 3 were in a game against Southampton where we simply gave up.  I would hope we can blunt Kane’s great run, even if not stop all the goals.

As it’s Pardew’s first home game, will there be extra eagles involved in the pre-match entertainment? Or maybe just a special one?

Just the one eagle, but with Pardew’s reputation I would hope we have some chaperones for the Palace Crystal Cheerleaders.

And finally, a score prediction please.

2-2 We’re overdue a high scoring draw.

Sounds like an entertaining game! Thanks very much for your time Mike, much appreciated.

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