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Opposition View: West Ham and Crystal Palace

In build up to this London Derby our resident Crystal Palace and West Ham Supporters posed each other some Questions going into the game…

Crystal Palace Qs;

How important is Yohan Cabaye to the side Pardew is assembling?

Yohan Cabaye is such an important player to us and normally for a new player it takes a good couple of months to endear himself to the club and supporters. But Cabaye has been nothing short of marvellous, we all knew we were getting a superb player who is capable of playing in the top sides, but I don’t think Palace fans knew just how good he would be.

We knew he could attack and set up and score goals, but what has impressed me is his defensive work rate, and his partnership with James McArthur is as good as you would see in the Premier League.

I don’t like to say it but I think we are seeing a change in guard at Palace, I can’t imagine our captain Mile Jedinak getting back into the squad once he returns from injury, I would say Cabaye is our Commander in chief of the midfield.

If you could pick one West Ham player to have in your XI who would you pick and why?

That’s a tough one, West Ham has recruited wisely over the summer with the additions of Dimitri Payet, Angelo Ogbonna and more, but I would go for Mark Noble.
Although it would probably never happen, but Noble sitting in our midfield and then giving license to Cabaye and McArthur to attack more would be great I feel.

As with many clubs like ours and West Ham, players such as Noble should have been given an England chance a long time ago – but he is certainly someone I rate.

What are the weaknesses of this Palace side?

First of all we have struggled at home for quite a while now, but I am hoping that our victories against sides like West Brom and Aston Villa who we lost to at Selhurst last season could be a catalyst for us to push on and improve our Selhurst showings.

For some reason we struggle to break teams down at home, and longer the games go on we seem to struggle for ideas. If West Ham come and attack it will be hugely open game which should benefit us, but if West Ham try to frustrate us it could be a long afternoon.

Alan Pardew often has a cycle in his management, do you worry the downside of that cycle could be around the corner?

To be honest I haven’t really thought about it, but I totally understand where you’re coming from. At Newcastle it pretty much went downhill after they finished fifth in that superb season.

I’m sure there are going to be some sticky patches for Pardew at Palace, but I like to think the fans will be 100% behind him, compared to the Newcastle fans.

There is no doubting that he is a superb manager who has had some tough times, but he knows how to set-up a team and with our current run he can do no wrong.

But I’m sure there will be a period in the coming months and years where things might not go his way – but I we definitely be behind Supa Al even if other are not.

Can Palace push further than a top ten finish this season?

Fans at Palace are quietly confident that we could do just that and improve on our top ten finish. We need to steer clear from injuries and we will just have to see where it takes us.

Some pundits and writers have tipped us for Europa League which is great on one hand because it shows how much this club has developed over the years. But one the other hand it could be too soon for Palace.

I wrote about this for a recent article for TheEaglesBeak, I think we need another two classy players on par with Cabaye before we could be able to juggle both Europa League and the domestic competitions.

But I would like to think we could push for a top seven or eight finish this season, that would show remarkably progress.

West Ham Qs;

What Palace player worries you the most heading into the game?

Cabaye. He’s a player who has always played well against us in his Newcastle days, I believe it was the season before he moved to France, and he absolutely dominated the game. None of our players could get anywhere near him. On his day, he is one of the best midfielders in the Premier League. Which in itself lends itself to the argument of why didn’t any ‘bigger’ teams come in for him?

What are West Ham’s strengths at the moment?

Our goal-scoring! I believe we’re still joint-second with Leicester after Man City? It’s all thanks to the players we’ve got though, and when Enner Valencia returns (he should be on the bench for this at best) we will most likely see two up top aswell. So plenty to look forward to in that regards!

Have the fans seen a change in style under Slaven Bilic compared to Sam Allardyce?

Most definitely. Sam was percentage football. Kick it long, win a flick on, hope someone has read the flight and the flick on. I know it wasn’t like that for half of last season, but, after charming everyone in prior to Christmas, his true colours showed post-Christmas which led to him rightly being let go.
Bilic has given us excitement back. In abundance. Having got the players in which Bilic wanted, his system looks brilliant. We just need to hope he learns to tweak it to work as well at Home as it does Away.

What Hammers player should Palace look out for?

It’s too easy to just say Payet! So I’ll go with Lanzini. Whilst he looks like he weighs 5 stone soaking wet, his defensive contribution has not gone unmissed, and his attacking intent is something which has helped take the pressure off of Victor Moses and Dimitri Payet as the main outlets.

What’s the target for West Ham this season?

Solidify. Top 10 finish. Anything better would be a bonus, and, a bonus which is rather realistic!

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