Under måndagskvällen är det dags för Liverpool att göra ligasäsongens första bortamatch och det gör man på Selhurst Park mot Crystal Palace. Motståndarna hade en tuff start av den förra säsongen, då nye tränaren Frank De Boer försökte sätta sin prägel på laget, men misslyckades kapitalt. In som räddare kom Roy Hodgson, vars status i våra läger inte är speciellt hög, men som bland Palace-supportrar är väldigt uppskattad. Bäst på Crystal Palace är The Eagles Beak(@TheEaglesBeak) och en av deras skribenter är Daniel Crame(@palacedann), han berättar här om statusen hos laget:
1. How do you remember last season?
Last season was a huge rollercoaster of ups and downs and after starting our first seven games without a single point on the board and no goals scored; things looked pretty bleak for Palace very early on. When Frank de Boer was sacked there was an air of relief and understandably so considering he played players in completely wrong positions and had tactics that were all over the place. The second half of our season was the opposite and Roy Hodgson played a big part in that, taking a team from the bottom of the league to a comfortable mid table finish. It was no suspires that he was nominated for manager of the season.
2. Roy Hodgson recently extended his contract at Palace, what are your thoughts on him?
I was one of many that were sceptical about his appointment due to his time with England but at the end of the day, we needed some stability and after the de Boer era went sour it was good to have someone like Roy available when we needed him most. Hodgson has done wonders at Palace and has rejuvenated a somewhat lacklustre, underperforming side into the solid, skilful and promising team we know we have. He was rewarded with a new two year contract last week and rightly so. Palace fans are delighted we have him in charge and are looking forward to where he and this talented Palace team can get to this season.
3. Tell us about your Silly season. Have the signings been made in the positions that needed to be better from last season?
Palace have strengthened in areas that were required and it is refreshing to see how Hodgson has done so with a fairly small transfer budget. The addition of Spanish shot stopper Vicente Guaita on a free transfer from Getafe was a superb coup considering he was statistically the best goalkeeper in La Liga last season. The young, promising talent of Max Meyer from Schalke was another coup on a free transfer who seemed to be on the list for Europe’s top clubs including Bayern Munich, Spurs and Arsenal. Our final transfer was Cheikhou Kouyaté who arrived from West Ham for ten million. This is a steal in the current market and fills the void in midfield left by Yohan Cabaye who departed for Dubai based side Al Nasr in the summer.
4. Zaha is still at your club, are you surprised that he didn’t leave during the summer and how important would you say that he is for you?
This was the biggest transfer of the summer. Palace keeping hold of Wilfried Zaha and then tying him down to a brand new five year deal a week later. I’m not hugely surprised that Zaha stayed put at Palace because he loves the club and has had his fingers burnt in the past when leaving for a top six side. He has said himself that he is enjoying his football in South London and it shows in his current form. Zaha is very important to Palace, just like Mohammed Salah is for Liverpool. Zaha is Palace’s edge and it is refreshing to see him stay with us rather than going to keep the bench warm at Spurs or City. Everything is pointing to this season being Wilf’s best yet so keep an eye on him.
5. Part from Zaha, which players are most important for your team?
Our captain, Luka Milivojević is another important player for Palace as he does the quiet yet crucial job, covering the defence while ticking over the midfield with key passes. The Serbian international is proving to be integral for Palace and I wouldn’t be surprised to see clubs enquiring about him next summer. James Tomkins would be another important player for us. His performances at the end of last season were phenomenal and it seems as though he is continuing them this season. His partnership with Mamadou Sakho has also built a superb backbone to this Palace team.
6. You beat Fulham away in your first game, how was the game?
In truth, the match was an odd one. Fulham looked on top in the first half however, could not take their chances which hurt them going into half time when Jeffery Schlupp netted for Palace to make it 1-0. Palace were dominant in the second half and looked the more threatening of the two sides. Wilfried Zaha proved his doubters wrong again by netting the second to seal all three points. It was a very organised, solid performance from Palace in the second half and we deserved the win. Our young right back Aaron Wan-Bissaka continued his fantastic form from last season and is definitely one to watch this campaign. A superb, natural talent.
7. How do you think you will line up against Liverpool and what kind of game do you expect?
I can’t see Hodgson changing the side that started against Fulham last time out. Wayne Hennessy had a great game at Craven Cottage so Vicente Guaita will have to wait for his Palace debut. Max Meyer has not played since April due to being a free agent so probably won’t be fit. Cheikhou Kouyaté could feature but only as a substitute late on like he did last week.
I expect the game to be end to end. Both sides are very attacking and will want the three points after starting the season well last week. The last time Palace faced Liverpool at Selhurst Park was Crystanbul so I’m sure the atmosphere will be great as usual. My prediction is an entertaining 2-2 draw.