Opposition view – Crystal Palace

Image: SpursWeb

We face Palace at home on Saturday. Both of us lost during the week, their result against Aston Villa though was probably a tad more unexpected than our traditionally pointless, in both senses of the word, trip to Stamford Bridge. I asked Mike, a proud Eagle, a few questions ahead of our weekend encounter.

So, a disappointing result on Tuesday night. What happened? Did Villa play well or Palace ‘not turn up’ as modern parlance would have it?

Villa had three shots on goal and scored one, I counted five we had in one attack without leaving their box.  We are in need of a quality striker. Although we have scored well this year, we are not capitalising on the opportunities we create and the result really reflected that.  Villa are by far the worse team I have seen at Selhurst this year, clearly they got the result, but I’m willing to bet on them not surviving.  Fair play though, no one in the ground was more surprised at the result than the Villa fans.

And how is mild-mannered Neil Warnock doing? Have the fans taken to him?

The start of the season was such a huge blow when Pulis left, we all expected so much from this year, an opportunity to consolidate in the Prem, and maybe try a cup run.  Given how close we were to signing that texting demon Mackay (my lawyers have advised against other names) we dodged a bullet and with limited time I believe Warnock was the best manager available to us. There is still some bitterness towards Colin from when he left us in 2010, but he suits our style and players. He has traditional methods and most fans are questioning whether the late use of subs, the lack of unforced team rotation and limited tactical changes works in the modern game.

As it’s Warnock I presume you’re expecting plenty of activity in the transfer window? Where do you think he might try and strengthen?

We really need a striker, Gayle has promise but doesn’t fit our system well, Chamakh holds the ball and runs hard but doesn’t score, Campbell is super quick, but lacks size and finishing.  Glen Murray for reasons no one can fathom, when Kevin Doyle is in our 25 man squad, is on loan, so hopefully we get him back and add another quality striker for competition.

Last time we did one of these you pushed the case for Jonathan Williams but I see that he’s now gone on loan to Ipswich. Has his promise not been fulfilled or does Warnock not fancy him?

Joniesta was having a great run at Ipswich, but does suffer from a lot of injuries, and is injured now.  In a couple of years with a few more quality signings I could see Jonny being a major part of our side, but for now with us still building a tough big side Jonny doesn’t really fit in.

Which Glaziers should we be looking out for in particular? Bolasie? If he plays on the left he’ll be looking forward to probing the weakest of our many weak points – we’re struggling at right back.

A lot depends on which Bolasie turns up.  If it is the one against Liverpool, sit back and enjoy the thrills as you won’t the result, if it’s the one against Villa, you will wonder how we ever stayed up last year.  One to watch for me would be James McArthur good passing from the middle, and gives us options away from the quick wingers every knows about.

Your home support is pretty special, is it the same away?

Even better.  You Tube ‘Palace Owning Arsenal’ if you want to see (and laugh at Arsenal).  We will stand and sing all game, and have a great time.  None of us expected another visit to Tottenham any time soon, and we will make sure we enjoy every minute of it.

In terms of fruit or vegetable size, if a watermelon is “Champions League, here we come!” and a pea is “Hope Swindon get promoted to the Championship, I’ve never been to the County Ground”, how optimistic are you for the rest of the season?

Brussels Sprout.  I think there are 3 worse teams than us, but with our final four games being Chelsea & Liverpool away, Manchester United and Swansea at home we had better have a big points cushion by then.

And finally, a prediction for Saturday please. 

Our style of soaking up the pressure and hitting teams on the break works much better away than at home.  We beat Liverpool in part because we played like it was an away game.  I wouldn’t be surprised if we got a result at the Lane and lost at Selhurst.  Tottenham I’m sure will finish higher than their current position, but for Saturday I’m going Tottenham 1-2 Palace, whilst hugely worried we will pay the price for this foolhardy prediction.

Thanks Mike, much appreciated. 


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