Match Preview: CRY v STK Q&A ft. The Eagles Beak

Stoke play Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Sunday and, it’s a good chance for both teams to get some points on the board. Palace have had the better start to the season (it’s impossible not to have a worse one when comparing to Stoke) but both teams have been in similarly poor form over the last few months. What better way to get the lowdown on our opponents by speaking to our friends over at The Eagles Beak: the Palace fan site. So, without any further ado, let’s get into the questions!
Where do you see yourselves going this season? Hoping to push up the league or another cup final? 
Another cup final would be just great wouldn’t it? It still hurts but us fans would absolutely love to be back on that stage again and have the time of our lives. In reality, I really hope we can chase that top ten finish of a couple of years ago which was a real underrated season for this little club from South London. Teams like us really do dream of a good cup run, it is something really special and to have that experience again would be truly fantastic. It really makes me wonder why clubs seek to devalue cup competitions. 

You’ve spent some serious money this window, do you think it will be worth it in the long run? 
I mentioned above a couple of seasons ago we finished tenth in the Premier League. That brought questions in itself, not so much how we managed it and can we do it again, but more about what do we do from here as a club? Well, that following summer our marquee signing was brought to Selhurst Park in the shape of Yohan Cabaye. That was a lot to live up to but I do believe that we have made the right signings at the right time to areas of the the pitch that were needed. We have lost some along the way too which softens the blow of some of the fees paid out but many fans sincerely believe we are that bit stronger for it. We are certainly not the finished article yet as there are a few positions that need addressing but Alan Pardew was right when he said this is a team in transition.
Do you have any new signings that may have slipped under the radar and you think we should know about? 
Steve Mandanda. Anyone that knows their European football will no doubt know about our new French goalkeeper. He has only played a couple of games and already he is fast becoming a cult hero. A fee believed to be in the region of £2million was quite a coup considering he has a whole host of clubs across Europe chasing his signature. You do not play for one of the top French clubs for over ten years and captain them for a large proportion of it for nothing. He is already bossing our back line about and enjoys the ball at his feet but he can back that up with saves that a goalkeeper should make. A problem position for us last season looks like it has been solved.
You seem to have had as bad a 2016 as Stoke have had so far, any specific reason for this? 
Crikey. The million dollar question. I am certain if Pardew could get the answer by shelling out that kind of money then he would bite your arm off. It is so difficult to put a finger on as we were knocking Premier League teams out of the FA Cup and then, in the league, we just were not able to do it. Thankfully, our superb early season form did us an almighty favour, just! Many have blamed it on injuries, including myself. I have not known a season quite like it and you cannot miss players as important to us as James McArthur are and Yannick Bolasie was for several weeks. It is no secret that Pardew has experienced similar at previous clubs and there was a real feeling among the fans that we needed to get off to a good start this new campaign. There are many that question Pardew and his style both game management and on the training ground but the club have allowed him to make the signings he wanted so for me, he deserves some time to see if we can make up for the poor form in 2016.
Alan Pardew has a history with starting a new job well but ending it in a disastrous fashion, do you see Palace sliding the same way as Newcastle? 
Possibly. We all knew he had to get off to a good start this season but we didn’t. It sounds crazy for a manager to be under pressure after one or two games of a new season but it goes back to the turn of the year. Our form has been horrendous other than in the FA Cup but you have to say that is form so it is not as if it has not been seen or not possible. I guess time will tell but what I know for sure is that Pardew cannot experience the kind of run that we went on earlier in the year otherwise we will be looking elsewhere.
Onto Sunday’s game, what is your score prediction?
Many will suggest this is a home win when looking at the fixture list but I always think there is not a team more dangerous than one coming off a beating. Stoke are a good side with very good players and they will want to make amends for their poor start to the season and for the defeat to Spurs. In contrast, Palace are two games unbeaten and many feel that the late equaliser at home to Bournemouth could be our turning point especially after following that up with our first win of the season up at Boro last week. However, Palace really struggle against teams at home that come to defend and want a point. I am not certain if that will be the game plan for you this weekend but I do think our win will have done us the world of good and we may just follow that up with a 2-1 home win against struggling Stoke.
Is there anyone from Stoke whose inclusion on the team sheet scares you? 
Goal scoring has been your problem I think so the addition of Wilfried Bony is an interesting one. Should he find the form that got him his move to Manchester City, then he will be a real threat. However, he may need a while to get back to that former version of himself, hopefully!
Likewise is there anyone Stoke should be afraid of from the Palace squad? 

On a very similar theme, I would have to say Christian Benteke. A natural goalscorer who is back on the goal trail after getting his first goal for the club last weekend. That will hopefully be the catalyst particularly in an area that we really struggled with last season. I have been really impressed with what I am seen of him so far both with his aerial ability and strength on the ball.

We have a song about Bread, do Palace have any songs that seem to not make much sense? 
Bread? Not garlic bread? Palace fans have a varied song book I have to admit but the Famous Alan Mullery one sometimes gets a run out which opposition fans may not understand one bit.

Thanks to The Eagles Beak for answering our questions, you can find more of their build up to the game – including their version of this piece – on their website: 
Written by Tom Thrower

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