Breakfast with Zaha: 2018-19 Crystal Palace

jkempa

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I also considered, "For fuck's sake, please don't give me another heart attack this year for the love of all that's holy and good."

Starting this one a little late this year, but in a good mood after a win against Fulham to start the season (and a perfect pre-season campaign), a new 5 year deal for Wilf, and an extension for Roy Hodgson. The team is in pretty good shape, considering that only Spurs spent less money. Somehow losing Cabaye, Loftus-Cheek aand Fosu-Mensah doesn't feel like the end of the world with Meyer coming in for free, the emergence of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, the way that Hennessey has seemed to improve with a solid defense in front of him (no losses with a Tomkins/Sakho partnership) and some additional help from proven vets like Jordan Ayew and Chiek Kouyate. Or maybe it's some kind of mean reversion and we're on the up-cycle that is the yo-yo of Palace fandom.

Big test tonight for that defense when they play Liverpool at Selhurst. Though to find the dark lining in the clouds, it will be without the Holmesdale Fanatics -- a big part of the "famous atmosphere" at Selhurst Park. If you want to save yourself reading one of the most poorly edited news stories in a long time (at the link), basically, the guys all in black at the corner of Selhurst wanted to move to the middle and get an even rowdier atmosphere. Those who had tickets in the middle said, "we're fine where we are, thanks" and the HF didn't like how the club handled it, so they've scattered to various corners of the park. On the excellent Five Year Plan podcast, they decided that they'd rather try and sort out the Israel-Palestine question than try and discuss this issue.

This does feel like an opportunity for the team to make a move forward. For me, that would be finishing somewhere 8-10, with a GD around 0 (give or take 5) and a full season of not panicking about going down. That would be a very successful year from where I sit. Then see if there's a chance to move to the next level (say a Burnley-type finish) from there in the years ahead, maybe spending on some new talent to get them to the next level.

It feels to me that with a 5 year deal, the Wilf question is pretty much put away for good. He's worth much more to Palace than to any other team, he's financially secure, the fee (and wages) it would take to lure him away limit that possibility to only a few clubs, and it probably only becomes so compelling for one of those clubs if he has a year where he scores 25 goals - in which case, they're probably already in the equation for European football, which would be the main reason he'd want to leave. Hopefully I'm right about at least this part, because he's the main reason that this club is so fun to watch. I wouldn't want to see a Palace team without him right now.
 

Dummy Hoy

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That Zaha signing feels huge- takes a lot of question marks off the table and sounds like he and the club are both ready to move forward- to try to take that next step as you outlined.

I'm not a big Palace fan (I'm on the Brighton side of that debate...sorry), but I really hope that clubs like them and Brighton and the like will stay up for a while, maybe do some damage.

There's only been 6 clubs to have never gotten relegated from the PL, I don't think 5 of them (or City) are going down in any scenario I see (which is too bad- they all deserve it). We seem to be having a bit of a changing of the bottom guard- Villa, Stoke, Sunderland, Blackburn, Bolton, etc. all looking down, with some newer clubs that look solid coming in- Brighton, Palace, Burnley, Leicester, Wolves, etc. I like the shuffling of the deck, it's good for the league to get some new blood or old friends back into the league.

Curious who the next 'big' club that gets out of the Championship and sticks- none of this Boro yo-yo silliness.
 

OilCanShotTupac

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I think you have to consider Leicester graduated to first class given that they won the league.

Feels like Bournemouth might stick as a permanent-ish PL side. Unlike Burnley and many of the other recent jumpers-up, they seem to have some goals in them this year and Howe is solid.

Southampton’s going the other way I think. Were usually top-half and threatening to go higher sometimes when I started following several years ago. I have them going down next year and I think they’ll keep heading downward. Mark Hughes is not going to lead them to better things, and Cedric and Ings aside there’s not much talent.
 

jkempa

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Another game, another 1-0 loss to a team that Palace outplayed. And I’m still left with the question: why isn’t Max Meyer starting? I can’t find a good answer.
 

jkempa

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Bump for @jkempa to add his two cents.
Basically stunned and thrilled. I thought that City clearly outplayed them for the first 30 minutes or so, but after the goal from Schlupp (which was their first shot of the game if I remember correctly) they seemed to gain some confidence. And then the Townsend goal was just a thing of beauty and really gave them the feeling they could do it.

I didn’t see the penalty, thanks to a combination of my WiFi, ISP and VPN, but only then did I really think it was possible. From what I saw, after the first goal, Palace at least belonged on the same field with City.

I’m mostly happy about the three points, but hope this can help the team going forward. The potential downside is that this removes some pressure from the January window, and I am not sure that this team has as much talent as last year’s did, and that is a dangerous formula in the Premier League, especially for relegation candidates.

But for now I am going to enjoy my team beating arguably the best team in the world. I hope the players do too.
 

luckiestman

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My brother in law got us Palace tickets for January 12th against Watford. Any advice on things to do on gameday around there or general advice about attending.

Palace are called Toffees? I have a lot to learn.
 

jkempa

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My brother in law got us Palace tickets for January 12th against Watford. Any advice on things to do on gameday around there or general advice about attending.

Palace are called Toffees? I have a lot to learn.
No, @OilCanShotTupac is an Everton fan. They are the Toffees. I was just wishing him well after his kind words about Palace.

I'm jealous about the game that you're going to though! Palace and Watford has turned into quite a rivalry over the past few years. Watford HAAAATTEEE Palace, and especially Zaha (who basically ruined them a couple of times, including the promotion playoff). So expect a bit of a chippy game.

As far as going there - leave yourself plenty of time. It's a bit of a haul if you're coming from central London. You can do a tour of the stadium before the game, which I highly recommend. I did it one time and it was a really nice experience. They bring you into the locker rooms, onto the field, in the trophy room (such as it is), you can sit in the dugout for pictures, etc. You'll likely see some players up close too.

The main Palace pub in the area is the Pawson's Arms, though the Clifton Arms is also a good stop. Be prepared to have your home tickets or be wearing Palace gear to get in before the games. They like to keep the opposing teams out of the pubs to prevent fights.

I'm guessing you're sitting in the Arthur Wait stand. If you are, you're in for an experience. Think Fenway circa 1989. Or worse. The entry to the toilets are not even as wide as a single person (you have to walk in sideways to many of them). I don't recommend going to get a beer at halftime if you're at all worried about missing part of the game, or have any sensitivity to cigarette smoke, as the concourse will probably remind you of California during the fires.

Let me know if you have any other questions. I did a report about my second trip there (when I did the tour). You can find it here.
 
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luckiestman

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No, @OilCanShotTupac is an Everton fan. They are the Toffees. I was just wishing him well after his kind words about Palace.

I'm jealous about the game that you're going to though! Palace and Watford has turned into quite a rivalry over the past few years. Watford HAAAATTEEE Palace, and especially Zaha (who basically ruined them a couple of times, including the promotion playoff). So expect a bit of a chippy game.

As far as going there - leave yourself plenty of time. It's a bit of a haul if you're coming from central London. You can do a tour of the stadium before the game, which I highly recommend. I did it one time and it was a really nice experience. They bring you into the locker rooms, onto the field, in the trophy room (such as it is), you can sit in the dugout for pictures, etc. You'll likely see some players up close too.

The main Palace pub in the area is the Pawson's Arms, though the Clifton Arms is also a good stop. Be prepared to have your home tickets or be wearing Palace gear to get in before the games. They like to keep the opposing teams out of the pubs to prevent fights.

I'm guessing you're sitting in the Arthur Wait stand. If you are, you're in for an experience. Think Fenway circa 1989. Or worse. The entry to the toilets are not even as wide as a single person (you have to walk in sideways to many of them). I don't recommend going to get a beer at halftime if you're at all worried about missing part of the game, or have any sensitivity to cigarette smoke, as the concourse will probably remind you of California during the fires.

Let me know if you have any other questions. I did a report about my second trip there (when I did the tour). You can find it here.

Thanks for the info. I will read your linked post later.
 

jkempa

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Palace are safe, and have had a pretty solid season all-around. They’ve done it with seemingly less talent than last year (I don’t think that Loftus-Cheek and Cabaye were adequately replaced). Most importantly, is my mental state has been quite good, with basically no real threat of relegation throughout the season. There have been some nice wins and further development of their young stars, Wilf Zaha and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

I think Wan-Bissaka will (and should) remain for at least another year. Especially as an England player, he is already in huge demand. But now Zaha is starting to discuss playing in the Champions League, which means a new address for him.

https://talksport.com/football/530879/wilfried-zaha-crystal-palace-80m-price-tag/

Given how poorly the team has performed without Zaha, he’s got to be worth at least £80 million to them. Thinking about the cost of relegation and it’s probably more. Even though it might be fun to see how they could spend that kind of money, and even though he’s already earning a reported £130k per week (why don’t soccer teams quote annual salaries like everyone else?) replacing his production for that price and wages will be challenging. Zaha is the lure to get other players to the team.

I really don’t know how they would replace him. Does anyone else have a idea if this does come to pass? Could they be better off (and would it be even possible) to take money for Zaha and send it to Chelsea for Batshuayi and Loftus-Cheek? What about Wan-Bissaka?

Does anyone here want to play armchair Palace personnel manager and help put my mind at ease?
 

coremiller

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I think AWB gets sold this summer. Man Utd and Spurs both have a need for a quality young right back and AWB is probably the optimal target for both.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I think AWB gets sold this summer. Man Utd and Spurs both have a need for a quality young right back and AWB is probably the optimal target for both.
He has a contract until 2022 and I doubt he pushes too hard for a move given his age so Palace will have little incentive to sell unless somebody is offering a figure in the Walker/Mendy range (~£50M). I could see United throwing that kind of money at a RB, especially given how dire their situation is at the position, but not Spurs.
 

67YAZ

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Ismailia Sarr from Rennes would be a high potential Zaha replacement. He had a strong World Cup for Senegal and is having a nice Ligue 1 season - 40 total appearances, 10 goals, 8 assists, 3.8 attempted dribbles/match at age 21. Has 2 years to go on his contract, so he might be had for half the fee and 40% of Zaha’s wages.

But Palace would want to bring in a veteran to rotate with Sarr as he adjusts to the EPL.

Jack Grealish will join the EPL with or without Villa. But there’s likely to be a lot of teams in on him if Villa stay down, wages might inflate past his production.