Oppo Preview: Crystal Palace v Stoke

How’ve you done so far?

A real season of two halves and thankfully we had such a great first half it has stood us in very good stead for when we have struggled. And boy have we struggled in 2016. Our win at the Britannia in December was the last win we managed in the league until we beat Norwich in April which was ludicrous. It was quite odd that that we managed to beat Premier League teams in the FA Cup, including yourselves, but just not in the league. It has been hard to put a finger on it really other than an injury crisis which you guys know all about coinciding with a real loss of form. Regardless, I am convinced we have done just enough even though we are not mathematically safe. There is a view that it has papered over some cracks but to reach the FA Cup final is incredible and many will forgive our league campaign if we stay up and put up a fight for the old trophy in a couple of weeks.

Last time out?

That was the narrow cup win courtesy of some individual brilliance from Wilfried Zaha and there really was not much else in it. I am sure you will be happy to see the back of us this season especially after our late late winner at the Britannia in December thanks to a stunner from our South Korean dynamo Lee. That win was not without its problems as Yannick Bolasie spent a spell out injured after that which played a part in our loss of form.

Where will be the key battle?

Midfield. It will be quite a battle and will not be for the faint hearted but there will be plenty of talent on show too and the flair players will be the ones to have an impact. I was disappointed with Bojan and Shaqiri in the cup game, perhaps that was a blessing but I always like to see quality players. In contrast, we will have Bolasie and Jason Puncheon doing their stuff but unfortunately Zaha will miss this one.

Predicted starting XI?

Hennessey – Ward, Dann, Delaney, Soaure – Cabaye, Jedinak – Bolasie, Puncheon, Sako – Wickham

Predicted scoreline?

I have a real sense that Stoke cannot wait for the end of the season and for that reaason plus we still need to secure out own sattey however bizarre that may sound, I will go for a 2-1 home win.

What’ve you made of Stoke this season?

When fully fit, impressive. Good to see that boring tag associated with a ‘rough and tough Stoke side appears to have been lost under Hughes and rightly so. More impressively, Shaqiri and Bojan have proved that they can do it on a wet and windg Tuesday night in Stoke. A little bit more luck with injuries and you could well have challenged for that top eight. Intrigued to see what happens over the summer in terms of incomings and outgoings.

Written by Crystal Palace fansite The Eagles Beak

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