Aston Villa travel to Selhurst Park to play Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace in the third game of the new season. Palace have invested heavily this summer, like Villa, so the game has the potential to be far more entertaining than previous encounters.
I spoke to @palacestats‘s Dominic Burrell ahead of this weekend’s game.
1) There have been some really interesting signings from Alan Pardew this summer. Cabaye stands out. What has he done to your midfield?
It’s been very interesting indeed – off the pitch he’s really brought some excitement and optimism that can be often lacking down here at Selhurst Park and hopefully we will see the ambition shown by the board pay off. On the field, we have a player who is technically superior to any other and who will be able to complement our exciting wing-play by offering another avenue through the middle to attack. He has already impressed with his highly accurate passing game and has also shown a willingness to defend, clocking up a high number of tackles and interceptions. The only down side is that his inclusion means the exclusion of a midfield enforcer type like Mile Jedinak or Joe Ledley, which has seen us feel a bit light in terms of defending and organisation.
2) Describe Pardew in three words.
Legend, Maverick, Tactician
3) What are your thoughts on Tim Sherwood?
When we were linked with him as the man to take over from Tony Pulis at the start of last season, I personally could not have thought of anything worse. He seemed brash, inexperienced and just simply not up to the job. However, since taking the Villa job, I have been very impressed with the work he has done with the seemingly limited resources on hand, guiding you to safety and an FA Cup final, whilst also getting Benteke firing again before his big money move to Liverpool. You should be a lot more optimistic this season under your new gaffer!
4) Who is the man Villa fans should watch out for on Saturday?
The obvious answers would be Cabaye, Zaha or Bolasie (if his head is in it following the transfer speculation) but I personally would say Jason Puncheon. He scored the winner in our encounter at Selhurst Park two seasons ago and has been in fine form. Punch, as we affectionately call him, also plays a crucial role in taking our set pieces and I can see this as our best chance of getting a goal on Saturday.
5) Who is Palace’s weak link?
Our left back Pape Souaré. He is fast becoming a fans’ favourite and actually won Palace’s man of the match award against Arsenal last Sunday. As good as he is going forward, he is not the most composed of defenders and his positioning can sometimes leave us vulnerable on the left, especially when our wingers don’t track back.
6) Which member of the Villa team would you like to see at Palace?
I’ve always liked the look of Micah Richards and could never understand why he was never give a proper chance in the England team. It will be interesting to see how he deals with being back in the Premiership at a club where he’ll have more of a chance. There must be something about him to be instantly made team captain.
7) How can you see your season panning out?
Despite the ambition shown by the board, I can’t quite see us reaching the heady heights we did last year and I would be happy with a lower mid-table position. The general opinion is that we are destined to have a good cup run and a trip to Wembley, like Villa managed last season, which would be brilliant, but hopefully we can take it one step further!
8) What is you match prediction?
It could well be a draw but I’ll be optimistic and say 2-1 to Palace!
9) Football Manager or Fifa?
10) Vodka or Jager?
Thanks to Dominic for participating in this edition of the opposition view. You can find Palace stats here.