Ahead of Saturday’s visit of Crystal Palace to Anfield, we get the views of Palace season ticket holder David Matthews.
It’s not been an easy start to life in the top flight for Palace. How do you feel it’s gone? Worse than expected?
I’ll be honest, not really. The only game which I saw as realistically ‘winnable’ from our opening seven games was the Sunderland home game which we got the three points from. The next one on my list is the our upcoming game against Fulham at Selhurst Park after the International break, so despite three points being a pretty low return from our opening six games, it’s what I expected. We were slightly unfortunate to come away from Stoke with nothing, but apart from that, we can have no real complaints from what we’ve done so far.
Do you think that you were promoted too early for your own good?
On the pitch? Yes, but you could make that case for most teams that get promoted, especially the one that comes up via the play offs. However, you can’t pick and choose when you go up. The Championship is one of the most competitive leagues in the world and once you get trapped down there, it’s very hard to get back up (It’s very easy to go the other way though!). However, the financial reward of promotion means you take it when you can. The long term infrastructure of the club is now firmly in place. We are in desperate need of serious ground redevelopment and with the money from just this one season in the Premier League, we are in a position to push ahead with plans to improve Selhurst Park.
Gabiddon & Delaney…not the strongest centre back pairing to ever grace the Premier League! Is that your biggest concern this season?
If you ask most Palace fans out there, the biggest concern is the lack of real strengthening of our back four. Apart from the arrival of Adrian Mariappa from Reading, Ian Holloway seemed happy to focus on other areas during the summer transfer window. Our defence last year was our Achilles heel and it is again proving to be a big problem. When you have a team that isn’t blessed with attacking talent, you need a solid foundation at the back. Sadly, we seem to have neither!
You previously gave us the lowdown on Victor Moses and spoke very highly of him, have you been able to watch his first few games for Liverpool?
I saw his debut against Swansea and I thought he was outstanding in the first half. He gave Liverpool a genuine outlet out on the left and he took his goal superbly well.
Brendan Rodgers has used him in a central role behind Suarez and Sturridge in the last two fixtures. Do you think he’d be more suited to wide left?
I personally feel he is better suited in a wider position but his versatility allows him to fit into any position across the front. Playing in a deeper role behind the front two isn’t his strongest position, but he can certainly do a job there if required.
What’s your impression of Liverpool these days – top four contenders, or top four pretenders?
I really like the look of Liverpool at the moment. Brendan Rodgers seems to have found a system that accommodates both Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge centrally, and I’ve tipped them to make the top four and maybe even mount a surprise title challenge. Not being in Europe means Rodgers can focus 100% on the Premier League and if they keep Suarez & Sturridge fit, then there is no reason why they can’t be in the mix come the business end of the season.
What memories sticks out for previous encounters between the sides?
Our 1-0 win at Selhurst Park during our last Premier League campaign in 2004/2005. It was a massive win for us and at that point, it gave us real hope that survival was possible. Sadly, we went on to draw our remaining three games, and that wasn’t enough to keep us up.
Where do you predict the two sides will finish this season?