This weekend, Palace head up to Turf Moor to take on Vincent Kompany’s new boys Burnley who are finding their return to the Premier League a bit of a struggle.
Ahead of the game I caught up with Burnley fan Jimmy The Claret to get the inside track on how Burnley fans are feeling at the moment.
TEB – Obviously, a tough start to the season for you guys after quite an upbeat pre-season. What’s going wrong?
JC – The main thing is we’re conceding way more goals than we’re scoring, and I don’t mean that flippantly – our defence has been a mess. It comes down to team selection and recruitment. Most of the players who won the league with us last season are no longer in the first XI, for a variety of reasons. Harwood-Bellis and Maatson didn’t return, Muric and Zaroury are benched, Jay and Cork are old (allow me a bit of hyperbole).
Vincent says it takes 120 training sessions and 100 meetings for players to understand his system. The team that had previously done this hard work of learning the system and gelling together aren’t getting to play together anymore. Maybe the new crop of lads are ‘better’, I can’t judge that (yet). Vincent must believe so. But we’re having a rocky start because they’re asking a bunch of young players who are generally inexperienced, to learn a new system with a brand new team make up, against tough opening fixtures.
We had a slow start last year as well, but you just don’t have the luxury of writing off your first ten games in the Premier League. I do believe things will click; the question is whether we’ve fallen too far behind the pack by the time it does.
TEB – Very sobering. So is the ambition all about ‘making it click’ and then survival?
JC – Survival has to be the main goal now, if things click. I still believe we have the ability to put a few winning runs together during the season and finish respectably… but that’s best case scenario right now.
TEB – So, who’s been your star of the season so far?
JC – Foster has been the star without question. He was bought last January and given the whole second half of last season to get comfortable with the system and it seems to be paying dividends now.
TEB – For any Palace fans who haven’t seen a lot of Burnley this season, what can we expect?
JC – We’ll play the same as all season, Vincent will not change his system. For people who haven’t seen us, imagine the Lidl version of Manchester City. Lots of pass-and-move, being fluid with use of space and attacking diamonds. and defensively, picture a Primark bag that’s been sat in a puddle for a while and then stood on a bit. That’s our level of defensive structure. There’s honestly no point trying to explain our intended defensive plans because we instantly get pulled out of position and make sloppy individual errors.
TEB – Who are your pantomime villains at the moment?
JC – VAR. Not to be THAT fan, but we could easily have another 4 points on the table if not for dodgy VAR shenanigans.
TEB – If you had a magic wand, which Palace player would you have in your line-up?
JC – Tyrick Mitchell. Please, God, somebody give us a left back. Failing that, Marc Guehi so we can have a centre back with some Premier League experience.
TEB – Your views on Palace this season?
JC – I honestly haven’t watched you guys much other than some highlights so can’t really say beyond that. You’re struggling for goals but, unlike us, seem to be able to grind out a result where needed. Roy Hodgson must be providing a monster mentality if so.
TEB – Cheers Jimmy! Lastly, what’s your prediction for the game?
JC – We’re about to find out what happens when an easily stoppable force meets a barely existent object. 1-1.
TEB – Anything else you want to mention?
JC – From an FPL point of view, Charlie Taylor will keep starting because our only back up is Doris the tea lady so if you need 1/2 points to sit third on your bench each week, he’s your man. Foster is a genuinely quite good option as an 8th attacker and is the only one fulfilling that role so isn’t really a rotation risk.
TEB – Thanks Jimmy. All the best for the season and finding that click (after this weekend of course!)