Pre Crystal Palace Q&A: FYP Fanzine

Competition: Premier League

Next game: 13.30, Crystal Palace FC, Selhurst Park, Sunday 16th August 2015

The Behind Enemy Lines series goes to Crystal Palace as The Arsenal looks to bounce back from a lacklustre 2-0 home defeat to West Ham. For this week’s edition Giles talks Robert Sutherland of CPFC’s Five Year Plan Fanzine about Sunday’s forthcoming fixture.



TGR: What’s your most memorable game between Arsenal and Crystal Palace?

FYP: For me, it’s the 1-1 draw in our last Premier League spell. You scored through Thierry Henry and we equalised through cult-hero Aki Riihilahti. We were in the ascendancy at that point and Vasillis Lakis should have scored, but instead he ballooned it over the crossbar. It was a thrilling match.

TGR: How far has CPFC come in terms of being in Administration as recently as 2010?

FYP: We’ve made such huge progress. After administration, the focus was on consolidation and not taking big risks. The club have been diligent in their approach to finances ever since. Promotion came as a surprise, from a squad that exhibited great team spirit rather than expensive quality. Our first season in the Premier League was looked at from a perspective that, should we go down, at least we’d be financially sound for a few more years. I doubt anyone could have imagined where we stand now.


TGR: How would you assess CPFC’s summer business thus far and do you see Alan Pardew doing more before the transfer window closes?

FYP: We were all surprised by the news of Yohan Cabaye considering a move to Selhurst Park. But this is a sign of how well run our finances are, that after a couple of seasons of reasoned spending, we can actually afford a signing like Cabaye. Most Palace fans will say they’re delighted by the other activity, too. Connor Wickham is still only 22, Alex McCarthy is a long-term successor to Julian Speroni, while Patrick Bamford and Bakary Sako have shown in the Championship that they have potential to push on in the Premier League. If we need one more signing, it’ll be a centre-back.


 TGR: What do you think of Arsenal’s summer business and the squad?

FYP: You’ve made a great signing in Peter Cech, despite the error in his first game at West Ham. I think most casual observers would say that a goalkeeper was one of your priorities, and you now have one. You probably need another striker though, as Olivier Giroud can’t do all the scoring himself. Other than that, you have a World Class squad and you’ll be a real challenge for us.


TGR: What do you think of Arsene Wenger?

FYP: I think Arsene Wenger is an incredible manager, and someone whose model other clubs would do well to replicate. Sure, you’ve not won as many trophies as you did when he first arrived, but his approach to the game (and spending) is surely the long-term way to do things. If there’s one criticism, it’s that there are times when he clearly doesn’t have a plan B for tactics.

TGR: Some people are saying Yohan Cabaye could be one of the buys of the summer. Do you see it as a coup or is it the sign of the progression Palace are making?

FYP: I think it’s a combination of elements. Cabaye needs regular football to have a hope of taking part in Euro 2016; he also just wants regular football generally. There are many clubs in Europe who now seem intent on stockpiling talent, and Cabaye has clearly looked to avoid a repeat of his time at Paris Saint-Germain. Had he been available last season (or the season prior to that) we wouldn’t have had a hope of signing a player of his calibre – but because of the progress we’ve made, we’ve had a fighting chance. Palace fans are delighted.

TGR: You had a great win away at Norwich on the opening weekend of the season. How much confidence does that give you going into Sunday’s game?

FYP: I wouldn’t say I’m confident – the Norwich result was a great one but we were slow to start and Norwich will argue they were unfortunate not to get something from the match. Your start against West Ham wasn’t great but this is the second game of the season – the next nine months don’t rest on how well we do in game one.

TGR: What would you consider to be a good season for the Eagles, will you improve upon last season’s 10th place finish?

FYP: Our primary aim, always, will be to avoid relegation. Anything better than that is a bonus. Ideally, we’d love to see Palace challenge for 8th or 9th place and have a good cup run.

TGR: What do you make of Arsenal’s surprise defeat at home to West Ham last weekend?

FYP: You didn’t play well – after your pre-season form (which counts for nothing, obviously) I think it probably surprised many. But as I wrote above, one result doesn’t dictate how the season goes. A solitary defeat doesn’t suddenly make you an awful side. That said, the ArsenalFanTV videos on Youtube made for entertaining viewing.

TGR: Who are your dangermen?

FYP: Our wingers are the truly exciting element of our team – Wilfried Zaha had an amazing game at Norwich and made defenders look slow, while Yannick Bolasie has had plenty of column inches written about him this summer with links to other clubs. Other than that, Jason Puncheon is great set-piece taker and has a real touch of class now he’s moved into a more central position, while Glenn Murray will rough up defenders for much of a match.

TGR: Where is your weak link?

FYP: I would say that it’s in our lack of cover in defence. While Scott Dann and Damien Delaney have built up a strong defensive unit, we lack cover in case one or both get injured. Another defender this transfer window would make a welcome addition.

TGR: Which Arsenal players do you consider dangermen?

FYP: The question should probably be which ones aren’t – you seem to have so many. I’m a big fan of Olivier Giroud – he’s a little like a traditional number 9 but with more class.

TGR: Where do you think Arsenal can be exploited?

FYP: If there’s a glaring weakness, it would be your centre-back pairing and their lack of pace. If our attacking stars can get in behind them, it could make things interesting.


TGR: Which player wouldn’t you swap for anyone in the Arsenal team?

FYP: Wilfried Zaha – after a crap time at Manchester United, he’s returned and is kicking on. He’s developing his game all the time, and is easily one of our biggest (and most entertaining) threats.

TGR: Which Arsenal player would you most like in your team?

FYP: I’d probably say Olivier Giroud (as I mentioned him above) but Santi Cazorla is another class act that you would just have to make room for.

TGR: Predict the scoreline and first goalscorer for Sunday’s clash.

FYP: It’ll be tough one, but I could see us getting a 2-1 win.



Many thanks to Robert and the Five Year Plan team. You can follow them on: @FYPFanzine








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