Ahead of Tottenham’s Premier League opener on Sunday at Selhurt Park, we caught up with a Crystal Palace fan to get his take on the match and the season ahead for both clubs.
Who are you and why are you a Palace fan?
My name is Daniel Smith. I’m a writer and editor for the Palace Mad website, and also write for RednBlueArmy.co.uk, London24 and This is Futbol. Simple answer is my Dad was a Palace fan as are other members of my family so it was destined to be! Been a season ticket holder for many years now and there is something about supporting a team like Palace, with the many ups and downs, which is exciting and intriguing.
Still pinching yourself or have you come to terms with the Eagles promotion?
I felt we fully deserved to win the final and the semi-final because we were the better team, so it was almost like it was accepted rather quickly and there was no massive surprise. Of course in the immediate aftermath it was great and we couldn’t believe it, but at the same time the performances made it believable.
How do you think you’ll do? I’m guessing you’re looking for three teams you can finish above or have I underestimated your optimism?
No it’s definitely fair to say that finishing 17th will be a successful season. I think it will be close, the last time we were in the Premier League it went to the last day. I’d rather it was sorted before then this time but I feel there are at least three teams we could finish above as long as we are at the top of our game. Of course that’s the thing – we have to focus just on our performances and not what everyone else is doing because if we do the job then there’s no need to worry. Our run-in is not ideal, but I think we are either going to just survive or just go down, it’s going to be close. I hope this doesn’t jinx it!
How much of a loss will Wilfried Zaha be this season?
No doubt he will be a big loss, the fee United paid suggests the talent he has. However, with a few players like Bolasie and new signings Dwight Gayle and Jose Campana there is no reason why someone cannot come in a do a job in that position. Although we’ve lost the player, we’ve gained financially which has helped the owners put money into the infrastructure and the stadium.
Which of your players do you think will catch the eye this season?
Jonny Williams. He has come back from a very serious injury and if he stays injury-free he can play a pivotal role in this team. Holloway has played him across the midfield but I think he is best in the middle, where he can get the ball and run at players. His control is brilliant but he also puts in such an effort on the defensive side of things.
Pleased with the capture of Marouane Chamakh?
Overall yes, at the moment. Having not really seen much of him (who has!) I think he is a player with a point to prove and we are a club with a point to prove. It could be the thing his career needs to turn around, somewhere where he will be one of the bigger names. Time will tell and things may not work out, but Arsenal must have seen something to buy him, so hopefully he can find that sort of form here.
Are you looking forward to seeing Spurs on Sunday? Any players in particular?
I think your new signing Soldado will be an interesting one to see, especially to see how he takes to the English game.
Any view on Spurs new signings or have they passed you by?
Mainly passed me by but the Soldado one looks like it could be a good buy. I’ve heard quite a bit of money has been spent but then in this market of inflated prices that can’t be helped. Paulinho could be one that goes either way, it will depend how he adapts to the Premier League.
You’ve no traditional local derby this season. Fixtures against which sides will be most keenly fought do you think?
I think, although we don’t have our traditional derbies, the way the team will set-up will be to treat every game like a derby, especially at home where it will be important to pick up as many points as possible. Because it could just be for one season I think the players and the fans will treat every game like that in the build-up and during the 90 minutes.
Which headline do you think will be used most often this season – Where Eagles Dare or The Eagles Have Landed? Any other pun-tastic titles we should be looking out for? “Peter Rampage”? “Kwesi Appiah now?” I’ll get me coat.
All of those have the potential to be used, I’m sure Ramage would love that headline, but I’d say after a win don’t be surprised to see “Eagles soar” or something along those lines. Nice and easy!
And finally – what’s your predicted scoreline for Sunday afternoon?
It’s going to be a close game. The atmosphere at Selhurst will be intense and Spurs will want to neutralise that, as there were a few games last year when the crowd played a part in spurring the team on (no pun intended!). With new signings looking to make a mark, I’m going to let my heart rule my head and say 2-1 Palace as Spurs’s signing might need more time to gel in front of an opposition crowd!
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