Match Preview with The Eagles Beak
Looking forward to our match with Palace this weekend we spoke to Sam from The Eagles Beak.
1. Going into this current season, we’re you excited with de Boer at the helm?
A. It was great. We had a legendary former Dutch international in charge, a disciple of Johan Cruyff’s ‘total football’ methods. We were promised a more aesthetic style of football and a summer overhaul. We were going the whole season unbeaten and de Boer was already on course to have his own statue in the car park outside the main stand. We got ahead of ourselves.
2. What went so wrong?
A. Plenty of things, with several people at fault. De Boer was naïve to think he could play out from the back with a side that featured Scott Dann, Damien Delaney and Joel Ward, among others. In hindsight, Parish was naïve to appoint him in the first place given Alan Pardew had already tried to change the style and it didn’t work. De Boer also didn’t have much to spend and his only permanent signing was Jairo Riedewald who cost around £8 million. He spent the whole summer saying we wouldn’t sign Mamadou Sakho but we ended up signing the defender anyway, which I imagine didn’t particularly go down too well with the Dutchman. There were also rumours of tension between players and coaching staff, which involved some of the senior members of the squad complaining to Parish that de Boer often ‘showed off’ in training. His tenure wasn’t pretty.
3. What did you make of Hodgson’s appointment?
A. It was underwhelming but so was Sam Allardyce’s appointment. Like Allardyce, Hodgson didn’t have a great start but Palace seem to be gradually improving and our high-profile players returning from injury is a boost. Hodgson has a monumental task but it would be great to see him succeed here given how badly it ended with England. It really is just Allardyce v2.0.
4. Does Hodgson have a lot of work to do in the January window?
A. Loads. There are only 14 or 15 players who genuinely deserve to be playing for the first team. Others, mainly signed on huge wages by Pardew, are lower Championship-to-League One standard. Ironic is the fact that we have conceded a bundle of goals this season yet the back four is the one area that doesn’t need to be touched in January. Due to Benteke’s injury, we’ve either had Bakary Sako as a lone striker, which is grim, or been in a kind of 4-4-2-0 formation with no strikers and Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend as the two players furthest forward. It was almost criminal to not sign someone to give Benteke competition in the summer and that must be addressed in early January.
5. What have you made of Stoke so far this season?
A. You had a slightly strange start. There was all this media attention about how poor Stoke were and how Mark Hughes was under pressure, yet despite that 7-2 drubbing at Manchester City (who will smash many teams this season) it hasn’t been that bad. You’ve already taken four points from Arsenal and Manchester United and picked up some good wins and draws elsewhere. Could be slightly more consistent but you will stay up. We both have being knocked out of the EFL Cup by Bristol City in common, too. At least you didn’t lose 4-1, though.
6. Are there any players who haven’t been grabbing the headlines that we should worry about?
A. Townsend has been excellent recently. He scored in this fixture last season and has deserved a goal in recent games. Zaha has underperformed given his usual standards, despite a couple of goals, so will want to play well. Benteke will most likely start for the first time in almost three months and hasn’t scored this season so he needs to get off the mark soon.
7. Who, in Stoke’s side. are you most worried about coming up against?
A. We should have signed Jese Rodriguez in the summer so, assuming he will be fit, Palace fans will most likely fear him the most given his pedigree. Peter Crouch always has a good game against us, too.
8. Have you ever tried an Oatcake?
A. No but google images suggests they look wonderful.
9. What is your prediction?
A. We need a win so Palace fans would like anything that constitutes three points, but my head says a 1-1 draw.
So there it is, we did a preview with the guys from TEB and you can read it here.
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