Opposition Q & A

This week I spoke to Jay from Crystal Palace website the Eagles Beak

You beat us to Cabaye’s signature in the summer but it is said you paid a club record £10m transfer fee with a further £3m on add on’s for the 29 year old midfielder from PSG. Reports suggest you are paying him £80,000 per week on a three year contract. Is he worth the huge investment in your opinion?
Yes, I do. I am obviously saying that now that I have seen what effect he an have on a team. He is the investment for us that changes the mindset as a Palace fan. A marquee signing if you like. The summer was one for us Palace fans where we thought, where do we go from here? Two seasons finishing as we have, are the club going to look at pushing on? The answer to that is yes, the owners saw this as a real opportunity for the club. It was not only the Cabaye signing, handing out new deals to Dann, McArthur and
Bolasie have been real statements of intent. For once we are retaining players and those players want to stay and play for us rather than having to
sell them on to the highest bidder.

Palace sit in a lofty third place but where can they realistically finish in the table?
We have the best squad in years, possibly the best I have ever witnessed at the club. The last two seasons we finished 11th and 10th in the Premier League with Mile Jedinak in the middle of the park. No offence to Jedi but this season we have Yohan Cabaye. It is such an upgrade it is untrue. For that reason, and the way we are playing, a couple of additions to strengthen in January and I expect us to improve on 10th place. Top four? No chance. Top six? Maybe, just maybe. The days of looking behind us seem to have
disappeared.

Which three teams do you tip for relegation this season?
Bournemouth (they will struggle with their terrible luck with injuries),Watford (stop their two strikers scoring and they have very little) and it the third would have been Sunderland but I think your former boss may just keep them up. Instead I will go for Norwich City but I expect it to be tight.

How do you rate West Ham’s manager Slaven Bilic and his terrific start to the season?
Decent start, better away from home obviously and it must be a little frustrating watching home games. I liken it a lot to us last season, great away from home, terrible at home against the teams you would expect to beat. The Premier League is a steep learning curve but Bilic has the experience of playing in it so should adapt in time. I like to see characters in the Premier League and Bilic is one of them.

West Ham sit in sixth place after seven games but what league position can West Ham realistically achieve this season under Bilic?
There really is no reason why the Hammers cannot achieve a top ten spot this season, it is really up for grabs. With the likes of Stoke City and Southampton stuttering a little who finished in the top ten last season, I expect a few teams to be in with a chance of finish 6th, 7th and 8th places in the top division and West Ham being one of them.

If you could have any current West Ham player in your team who would you choose?
Dimitri Payet. He is a real class act and is a real danger man. An exciting acquisition from Marseille and no offence to West Ham, he would not have looked out of place in a top four side just like I have said many times about Cabaye.

Do you understand what the ‘West Ham way is’ and what it means to Hammers fans?
Yes, of course. It is what West Ham are known for but I think it gets a little lost in modern day fans who cannot remember the days when the West Ham Way was really a thing. The contribution to the England squad that won the World Cup cannot be ignored. As you know, I am not a West Ham fan but when I played football I was a centre back and my short number was six. The reason? Bobby Moore. He was a little before my time but I still count him as one of my footballing heroes.

Which Palace player should we include in our Fantasy dream team?
The great form of Yohan Cabaye is rubbing off on others and one such player is Wilfried Zaha who had a fantastic game against West Brom. He looked every bit the player he was before he left Palace for Manchester United, an experience that has taken him a year to get over. He gets the odd goal but he will always provide assists which is very underrated in the fantasy football world.

Which Palace player should West Ham players fear on Saturday?
Yohan Cabaye. He has been in great form which has influenced everyone around him. Everyone knew his attacking capabilities but many did not quite realise how good he is defensively. Proving to be a great foil alongside James McArthur in the middle of the park allowing the rest of the flair players the freedom to do their stuff.

14 Supporters’ Trusts recently came together to petition the Government for a public inquiry about West Ham’s occupancy of the Olympic Stadium. Does the fact that West Ham got a good deal bother you personally as a football fan?
I think it is fair play to West Ham for getting that deal although I would have much preferred the stadium to have been made the home of UK Athletics as a legacy from the London Olympics but it sounds very much like it just was not viable. I just hope it does not turn out to be just another one of these new stadia, which look great, but have no atmosphere or soul.

How do you expect palace to setup against West Ham on Saturday/Team/formation prediction?
I expect the same as our starting line up at home to West Brom assuming none of our injured players make it back. If Damien Delaney is fit he may come in for Brede Hangeland but the big Norwegian has been immense.

Hennessey – Kelly, Dann, Hangeland, Souare – McArthur, Cabaye – Bolasie,
Puncheon, Zaha – Gayle

What is your score Prediction for Saturday?
Very tough to predict this one, two exciting sides going at each other promises to be very interesting. I think this may be our first draw of the season so I will plump for 2-2.

My thanks to Jay for answering for my questions
I am founder and editor of TEB – www.theeaglesbeak.com – on Twitter (@theeaglesbeak), Facebook and Instagram. I am also involved in an exciting new project ‘Back Of The Net Football Show’ on community radio station Susy Radio which is great to be a part of. Find out more about the show by following on Twitter @_backofthenet_ and head over to Facebook and like our page.