Opposition Focus: Crystal Palace


04/08/18 – Palace 4-1 Toulouse
28/07/18 – Reading 0-4 Palace
21/07/18 – Oxford Utd 1-3 Palace
16/07/18 – Halmstads BK 1-6 Palace
12/07/18 – FC Helsingør 2-2 Palace


I didn’t watch a great deal of Palace last season as my Focus was on the Championship. But whenever I saw them, they played a 4-3-3 with Benteke the target man and Zaha/Townsend either side not too different from the way we set up.

Of course style-wise, it’ll be very different. We know Roy and his approach very well and it’s certainly not as high risk as the way Slav has us playing out from the back. I’m expecting an organised, well-oiled engine in the middle of the park with plenty of balls into the channels for their front 3 to run onto. Benteke ala Zamora with runners off of him. Whilst Football has evolved quickly over the last few years, I don’t think Roy has which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. So I expect a typical Roy team, a side that’s going into this season with a lot of momentum after a good second half of the season not too different from ourselves.

Battle to Watch

Ream v Benteke: Although Benteke is not the same player who was in form for Aston Villa a few years back, eventually getting a move to Liverpool. He is still a big upgrade on the strikers that we came up against last season and a big test for Ream to gauge whether he’s capable of making the step up. The fear until last season was always that on the ball, Tim was class but defensively he lacked the physicality. Well, Benteke is quicker than any Championship striker, faster and very good in the air. A different proposition to being faced with Lewis Grabban at Wembley. So with Alfie Mawson to return in September and the arrival of Calum Chambers from Arsenal, Tim Ream needs to prove he can handle players like Benteke otherwise it won’t be long before he’s third choice and we are coming up against much better players such as Lukaku and Kane.


There’s only one person to name here isn’t there? Wilfred Zaha, a fantastic player and in some ways the Crystal Palace version of Ryan Sessegnon. Zaha is a very talented individual who will prove a big test for our new/newish fullbacks at the weekend. Whether that be Joe Bryan or Fosu Mensah chucked straight in or Cyrus Christie who feels like a new signing, they will have to be at their best to stop Zaha. There are of course other threats in Hodgson’s side but if we stop Zaha, we stop their main source of goals, assists and attacking prowess.

Last 5 Meetings

11/05/14 – Fulham 2-2 Palace (Premier League)
21/10/13 – Palace 1-4 Fulham (Premier League)
01/01/05 – Fulham 3-1 Palace (Premier League)
04/10/04 – Palace 2-0 Fulham (Premier League)
17/03/01 – Palace 0-2 Fulham (Division 1)


Fulham Wins 17
Draws 15
Palace Wins 11

Stats & Facts

  • There will have been 1553 days between this game and Fulham’s last in the Premier League – also at home to Crystal Palace in May 2014.
  • A goalscorer in that 2-2 draw, Cauley Woodrow, is the only player from the matchday squad still at Craven Cottage.
  • Fulham have lost just 1 of the last 8 meetings with Crystal Palace – 2-0 at Selhurst Park in Oct 2004 – and only 2 of the last 22 in a run going back to 1974.
  • The Whites have also won 5 of the 7 matches against Palace this century with 12 different Fulham players scoring 15 goals in the process.
  • Fulham have lost just 1 of their last 9 opening day fixtures – 2-1 at Ipswich in the Championship under Felix Magath in Aug 2014.
  • The Whites have also not conceded a goal in their last 5 opening day Premier League games: 1-0 v Sunderland (a) in 2013; 5-0 v Norwich (h) in 2012; 0-0 v Aston Villa (h) in 2011; 0-0 v Bolton (a) in 2010; 1-0 v Portsmouth (a) in 2009.

Magic Moment

I’ve been told that we are going to try and follow the fixture list properly for this one, so there’s a certain goal you might remember that will have to wait until the return game at Selhurst Park. I suppose the obvious choice from the Cottage is out most recent fixture with Palace. A beautiful late equaliser from Chris David curling it into the top corner off via the crossbar. It was a nice way to sign off the original Premier League era and let’s hope there’s many more to come this time around.

Opposition View (@theeaglesbeak)

Are you happy with the business you have done this in the transfer window?

Yes, it’s been a transfer window that has threatened to lose Wilfried Zaha which has not materialised much to the disappointment of the media. We have lost Cabaye and a few fringe players but bulked up with Kouyate from West Ham which is a very solid signing and the coup of Max Meyer on a free, a much-touted player across Europe.

What are your expectations this season?

Expectations are always a tough one and there is no doubt we will be no different to the majority of teams seeking to achieve the magic 40 point barrier and see where that takes us. With the squad we have built, there is enough talent at Hodgson’s disposal to make a challenge for the top ten in a season which will be tight again throughout the bottom half.

Match prediction?

Fulham is our favourite away day, enjoyed a couple of pre-season games since you dropped out of the Premier League so glad to see you back. This fixture reminds us a lot of the return of Norwich to the Premier League a few years ago where we travelled and got a decent result. Will go for a 2-1 Palace win with Zaha being instrumental after a super pre-season.

Match Prediction

Given the fact that we are at home and it’s our return to the Premier League, I think both fans and players alike will be buzzing. The atmosphere will be electric and I think that momentum will carry us to a win. We will face better teams than Palace this season, we will also face much weaker sides too but this is not an easy game on paper and I expect it to be much closer than we anticipate. I originally predicted 2-0 for the Podcast Prediction game so I will stick with that but keeping Zaha makes me wonder if we can keep a clean sheet, potentially 3 of our back 5 will only have arrived this week (Chambers, Bryan & Rico) so a lot depends on whether they can gel together instantly.

My head says 2-1 but my heart says 2-0 to Fulham. If we get an early goal then I think it’ll take the edge off of it and my heart will be closer to the mark. COYW!