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Hopkin Looking To Curl One…

A regular blog dedicated to Crystal Palace Football Club through the eyes of a fanatical supporter, contemplating everything from results to the colour of Stuart O'Keefe's boot laces…

Archive for the month “August, 2013”

Crystal Palace V Sunderland Preview

Data supplied by the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. Select and manage your own team of stars at http://fantasy.premierleague.com/ or with FIFA Ultimate Team for FIFA 14.

Crystal Palace vs Sunderland 17:30

– It may be only the second weekend in the Premier League, but this clash at Selhurst Park could already be billed as a six-pointer with neither side able to muster a win as of yet. and with both teams only scoring one goal apiece in the league thus far, uppingtheir accuracy in front of goal will be paramount.

– The Black Cats task will not be made any easier by the presence of Joel Ward in Crystal Palace’s backline. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index the English right-back has made 11 tackles – the most of any defender. This sort of dogged determination is exactly what the Palace faithful will be yearning for, as they brace themselves for the relegation scrap that they have in store.

– On the opposite flank, Dean Moxey is certainly putting in his own defensive shift making 8 tackles in the first two games, second only behind his team mate.

– Crystal Palace’s defensive feats have also been aided by the contribution of Damien Delaney. He has made 23 clearances so far this season, the eighth most in the league.

– Midfield general Mile Jedinak has also made his fair share of defensive clearances.He cleared the ball 14 times against Stoke, showcasing his ability to protect the back four.

– Sunderland have struggled for goals in the first couple of games of the season, and midfielder Cabral will have to up his game to improve Sunderland’s fortunes. Of the 4 shots he has attempted, he has failed to hit the target once. Only Hatem Ben Arfa has a worse ratio.

– Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio has invested in foreign talent this Summer, with 10 foreign players arriving to bolster the ranks. Jack Colback is one of the English players to remain, and he’s certainly proving his worth withb a 100% tackle success rate. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index he has won all 5 of his tackles.

– Adam Johnson may have considered himself unlucky to have missed out on Roy Hodgson’s England squad, as, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, his 4 crosses are the second most in the league. His battle with the Eagles’ outstanding fullbacks is something to really wet the appetite ahead of Saturday.

– Hodgson may have been looking at Johnson’s shooting so far this season, as the former Manchester City wideman has had 3 shots and failed to hit the target once. Only Hatem Ben Arfa, Cabral and Nacer Chadil have had more efforts without working the keeper. Johnson did, however, manage to find the net in the League Cup midweek – He’s 8/1 with 888sport.com to score the first goal on Saturday and continue this rich vein of form.

– At the other end of the pitch, Sunderland defender Ondrej Celustka has much to work on following the opening two games of the season. Of the thirteen tackles he attempted, he only managed to complete 7 of them..

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Crystal Palace News: 30/08/2013

All the news from SE25 in the last 24 hours

Ahead of tomorrow evening’s meeting with Sunderland, the official site has a preview of the fixture.

TEAM  NEWS
Palace: Ian Holloway made 11 changes to his side in  midweek for the Capital One Cup trip to Bristol. The majority of that starting  XI are expected to give way this weekend, with the gaffer expected to go with a  similar line-up to the one that lost 2-1 at Stoke City. Jason Puncheon could  make his home debut after playing in that defeat at the Britannia Stadium last  week, but Jerome Thomas is still unlikely to feature after that ankle injury he  sustained in the friendly against Lazio. Kevin Phillips could feature against  his former club, while Yannick Bolasie (hamstring), Jonny Parr (ankle) and  skipper Paddy McCarthy (groin) are still sidelined.
Sunderland: Black Cats striker Steven Fletcher was  named among the substitutes against MK Dons in midweek and is expected to make  the squad again on Saturday, as he bids for his first taste of first team action  since March. Connor Wickham is also pushing for a place in the 18 after scoring  twice in that 4-2 Capital One Cup victory.

One player who definitely won’t be involved in the game is Sunderland’s Stephane Sessegnon, who has been dropped following a charge of drink driving.

Stéphane Sessègnon will be punished for a drink-driving charge by being left behind on Wearside on Friday when Sunderland‘s first team squad fly to London for Saturday’s Premier League game at Crystal Palace.

The Benin forward, who will appear before Newcastle magistrates on 4 October, was arrested in Newcastle on Tuesday evening while his team-mates were beating MK Dons 4-2 in the Capital One Cup.

Paolo Di Canio had rested Sessègnon, one of his most talented players, for that game but has now abandoned plans to start the African at Palace, instead excluding him from the party travelling south.

Sunderland’s manager demands the utmost professionalism from his players and, quite apart from his anger at the drink driving charge, is understood to have been deeply disappointed that Sessègnon was out socialising at a time when he should either have been watching his team-mates play MK Dons or spending time at home with his family.

Julian Speroni has spoken to the Evening Standard of his love for the club, saying that ideally, he’d like to remain at Selhurst Park for the rest of his career.

It’s safe to say the 34-year-old has his hands full. “I love this club,” said Speroni. “I feel like family. I would love to stay here for my career but in football you can never tell. You can be a hero, then you make two mistakes and they don’t want you.”

Speroni knows more than most about the tumultuous nature of football; since joining Palace in 2004, he has seen eight different managers, administration, relegation and promotion. Having come through such drama together, it’s little wonder there’s such a warm affinity with the club.

“If they come up with an offer, of course I have to consider it,” he said. “I love it here and would love to stay but you can never tell. If you’re not enjoying where you are, then it’s time to move on. But I am still enjoying it. I never planned to be here this long, but I am very happy it went this way.”

Speroni is thrilled that Palace are back in the big time. Not just because he’s up against the world’s best week in, week out but because he has a better chance of playing in the World Cup. Indeed, keeping Palace in the top flight is the perfect way to showcase his talent ahead of Brazil 2014.

“It is one of my dreams, to play for my country,” said Speroni, who ­represented Argentina at Under-20 and 21 level but never for the full national side. “In the Premier League I have more of a chance.”

Jimmy Kebe is set to be announced as a Crystal Palace player this afternoon, having agreed to sign a three-year deal with the club.

CRYSTAL Palace are set to confirm the capture of Reading winger Jimmy Kebe this afternoon.

The Frenchman, 29, has agreed a three-year contract with the Eagles.

He will become their 11th signing of the summer transfer window.

Whilst Huddersfield defender Jack Hunt is set to have a medical with us this afternoon.

CRYSTAL Palace are closing in on the signature of Huddersfield right-back Jack Hunt.

The 22-year-old is understood to be set for a medical in South London today.

With Ian Holloway appearing to be in a far happier mood during yesterday’s press conference than he has in recent weeks, it seems he’s finally starting to feel comfortable with the prospect of the season ahead.

When questioned over his decision to rest all 11 of the players who started our game against Stoke for the League Cup tie at Bristol City, he made no excuses over the fact that he was fully committed to ensuring that we had as many first-team players fit for the visit of Sunderland on Saturday, which to his regret, meant leaving a large portion of our squad back in south London. I can fully understand his caution, given both our desire to retain Premier League status and the difficult start we’ve had to endure to our league campaign, and in truth, I think almost everyone would swap safe passage into the third round of the League Cup for three points tomorrow evening, even if it did sting a little to see us crash out.

Moving on from midweek, it sounds as if the first-team have had a relatively trouble-free time in training, which is a welcome change given the injuries we had been randomly picking up. Holloway spoke of the good work they’d been doing with Ben Garner whilst both he and Keith Millen had been away in Bristol, before going on to mention the extra work they’d done on Thursday morning, focussed solely around defensive positioning, as a direct consequence of the manner in which both goals were conceded against Stoke last weekend. Given the positivity with which he discussed our training sessions this week, it’s fair to say that he’s feeling far happier than he has done for weeks with our general state of readiness, with the ever-improving fitness of both Marouane Chamakh and Jose Campaña likely to have helped his mood dramatically.

According to an Italian site, we are interested in signing striker Stefano Okaka from Parma.

Crystal Palace are thought to be interested in ’s 24-year-old Italian striker Stefano Okaka.

The foward already has some experience on account of a loan spell spent at Fulham during the 2010-11 season

According to Tuttomercatoweb, the Eagles have began tracking the ex- player as they consider whether or not to prepare an official offer.

Okaka is also reportedly the subject of interest from France where he has received attention from Ligue 1 side , who are currently managed by former Juventus striker .

Parma are thought to be willing to listen to offers for the former Italy Under-21 international with a loan deal the preferred option of the Ennio Tardini based side.

During yesterday’s discussions with the press, Holloway revealed that he had looked to bring in Barcelona midfielder Marc Bartra, but had been put off by the fee the Catalan club were asking for to allow him to leave on loan.

CRYSTAL Palace have made an audacious move to sign Barcelona and Spain U21  star Marc Bartra on loan, Advertiser Sport has been  told.

Bartra, 22, broke into the Barcelona first team in 2010 after coming through  their youth ranks and has been linked with a move to a number of clubs around  Europe.

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