It is almost here, the opening day of the brand new football season after another long summer without club football.
For the big kick off, the Eagles host the blue side of Merseyside as Everton come to town so we had a chat with the wonderful guys at The Blue Room about the summer, the new season and the excitement of a brand spanking new ground.
Q. What are your hopes for the new season?
A tangible improvement on the last campaign is necessary, especially given the big investment this summer. Bridging the gap to the top six is the challenge and for God’s sake, get to a cup final!
Q. Looking back, how do you rank last season now that the dust has settled?
In general, it was a step in the right direction given the dreadful mess of a season preceding it. We established an identity and some of the attacking football was scintillating towards the end with solidity at the back.
Q. Very exciting news about the new stadium, looks fantastic but how are the fans feeling about leaving Goodison Park?
Knowing that Goodison’s days are numbered leaves a gut wrenching feeling as it is, but when it comes to pass I think many people will be inconsolable. However, this absolutely needs to happen in order for us to progress as a club. The Old Lady will leave a gaping hole in our hearts, but the designs of this new stadium look set to continue her legacy.
Q. Are the fans fully behind Marco Silva going into his second full season at the club?
I would say they are emphatically behind him now, but it took a hell of a lot from him and the players to bring that about. Out of the FA Cup and on a dreadful run back in January, many would have happily seen him replaced. But the end of the season was outstanding and now we look to the future having turned a corner under the Portuguese.
Q. How has the summer transfer window been for the club – were all needs addressed?
Missing out on Wilfried Zaha feels like a bit of an opportunity passing us by. As your readers will know, he is a world class talent who would have undoubtedly improved our chances of breaching the top six. Having said that, our attacking ranks have been bolstered by Moise Kean who looks an incredibly exciting prospect. Jean Philippe Gbamin is also and an excellent piece of business to help cater for the loss of Idrissa Gueye to Paris Saint Germain, while Fabian Delph’s versatility will be a real asset.
Q. One to watch for Everton this season?
I think Bernard will really kick on with a full pre season under his belt. Many will say Moise Kean but I think expectation needs to be tempered with him being so young and inexperienced in the Premier League. Look out for Andre Gomes kicking on again too.
Q. If you could pick one Palace player to sign, who would it be and why?
Wilfried Zaha. He is everything you want from an attacking wide player and provides so much with his pace and trickery and we are absolutely gutted to miss out on him.
Q. Name a player from each side that you believe will be a threat in this game?
For Everton, Moise Kean. Whether he starts or not is in question, but I think the Italian will announce his arrival in the Premier League in style.
For Palace, Andros Townsend. A really underrated player who can still make the best defenders look silly. His direct running and shooting ability from long range are always a danger.
Q. Perhaps you could share your opinions on Palace both as a club and what you expect from us this season?
For some time now I have felt Palace have under-performed. I understand Roy Hodgson worked wonders in his first season after replacing Frank de Boer, but I think the players Palace have in their ranks should be doing a lot better than lower mid-table finishes.
I always refer to them as the team best equipped to win away at the big six given the pace in wide areas and generally a physical presence in the middle. Proof of that is evident in results such as beating champions Manchester City last season. I genuinely feel you guys should be comfortably in the top half of the table, perhaps competing for a European spot.
This season I think will be a little bit more difficult. I do wonder what else Roy Hodgson can offer as manager in regards to taking Palace to the next level. I sincerely hope you do kick on you are a great club who I am particularly fond of.
Q. Your prediction?
Palace 1-2 Everton