Premier League 2015-16 season preview: Crystal Palace

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Crystal Palace are all of a sudden everyone’s favorite second team. They are a team full of vibrant attackers who never say die and their fans create a boisterous and hostile atmosphere home or away. The Eagles are all set to soar into their third-straight season as a Premier League club.

[ MORE: All of PST’s season previews ]

Palace exceeded everyone’s expectations last year after a superb second half of the campaign following Alan Pardew’s arrival as manager. When former Palace midfielder Pardew left Newcastle for Palace in midseason they were in the relegation zone but they ended up finishing 10th. Remarkable. Palace have never won a league title and their best effort in the FA Cup came when Pardew was playing for them in 1990 but they lost to Manchester United in the final.

The south London club have a local rivalry with Charlton Athletic and Brighton and Hove Albion, both in England’s second-tier, while in the PL they will come up against London rivals Chelsea, West Ham, Arsenal and Tottenham.

Best possible XI:

—– McCarthy —–

— Ward — Dann — Delaney — Soare —

— Jedinak —– Cabaye —– McArthur —

—– Bolasie  —-  Bamford —- Puncheon —-

Transfers In: Yohan Cabaye ($20 million, Paris Saint-Germain), Alex McCarthy ($5 million, QPR), Patrick Bamford (Season-long loan, Chelsea)

Transfers Out: Shola Ameobi (Released), Steven Dobbie (Released), Peter Ramage (Released), Jerome Thomas (Released), Owen Garvan (Released), Lewis Price (Free, Sheffield Wednesday)

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Cabaye will be the main man for Palace.

Last season: 10th in Premier League – After the sudden departure of Tony Pulis on the eve of last season, the Eagles were struggling under Neil Warnock up until January and then roared up the standings when he was fired and Pardew took his place. Pardew got the best out of Yannick Bolasie, Jason Puncheon, Glenn Murray and Wilfried Zaha as they won 10 of their last 18 games to finish in the top 10. It was a sensational season and the first time Palace had finished in the top half of the PL.

Star player: Yohan Cabaye – He hasn’t kicked a ball yet for Palace, but we all know Cabaye will become the heartbeat of the Eagles. The French international midfielder, 28, may turn out to be the best signing of the summer as Palace paid a club record $20 million to Paris Saint-Germain for the creative genius. Cabaye pulled the strings for Newcastle when Pardew was his boss, and expect plenty of the same once again as his deadly set pieces and inch-perfect passes will be just what the likes of Bolasie and Zaha need.

Coaches’ Corner: Pardew’s legendary status at Selhurst Park is growing by the day after his managerial success last season. He is known as “Pardiola” in his native south London, as he returned home to not only saved the Eagles from relegation, but also mastermind their best-ever PL finish. He has spent wisely this summer and if Palace get off to a good start, their goal of finishing in the top eight could happen. They are fun to watch with Pardew letting his forward players express themselves, but he is one of the best managers in the PL at getting his teams to keep their shape. All in all, Pardew and Palace could be on the cusp of a major breakthrough.

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Alan Pardew

PST predicts: Sticking with the positive theme, Palace will be aiming to finish in the top 10 once again. Last season was the first time in club history that they were preparing for a second-straight season in the PL and they will look to build on that success and become an establish PL club. With mercurial talents like Puncheon, Bolasie and Cabaye around, Palace will look to kick things on. Despite issues with their defense, expect another season of progress from the Selhurst club.

What we love about Tottenham

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This week at ProSoccerTalk we will be detailing what we love about each Premier League club competing in the 2019-20 season and next up is Tottenham.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Each day we will release details on why who adore each team in particular as we remind ourselves just how awesome the PL is as we await its return following the suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Time to take a closer look at Spurs.


Harry Kane: Since emerging in the first-team scene under Mauricio Pochettino during the 2014-15 campaign, Harry Kane has skyrocketed in Tottenham’s list of greats. The Spurs youth product hit the ground running under the Argentine, finishing as the club’s leading goalscorer of the aforementioned season, and becoming an instant fan favorite.

Kane – who is currently recovering from a left hamstring injury – didn’t stop there; he made sure he was far removed from being a one-hit wonder. As a result, the 26-year-old has lead Spurs in scoring for five straight seasons, placing him third in Tottenham’s all-time goalscoring list. Outside of Jermaine Defoe, no other player in Spurs’ modern day history has had such impact on the offensive side of the game. 

Jose Mourinho: Wherever Jose Mourinho goes, the lights and cameras follow. That reality is no different at Tottenham, as the storied Portuguese manager has brought all of his pros and cons with him to Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium.

After runs with Chelsea and Manchester United, one might have thought that his and Spurs’ paths would never cross, but in November 2019, after Mauricio Pochettino’s sacking, Mourinho became the boss at Tottenham. Life thus far at the helm of the north London side hasn’t been ideal for him, crashing out of Champions League play and sitting eighth on the table. But a manager of Mourinho’s stature is definitely not worth crossing off – whether he’d be at Chelsea, Manchester United ⬇️or Spurs.

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium: In addition to having a proven goalscorer and manager in their ranks, Tottenham have the privilege of playing home games in England’s newest and most technologically advanced football stadium: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The 62,000-capacity state-of-the-art stadium features a retractable field, a microbrewery, an in-house bakery, heated seats with USB ports, the longest bar in the UK among others unimaginable extras for a sports venue. The stadium opened in April 2019, and replaced the legendary White Hart Lane.

What we love about Watford

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This week at ProSoccerTalk we will be detailing what we love about each Premier League club competing in the 2019-20 season and next up is Watford.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Each day we will release details on why who adore each team in particular as we remind ourselves just how awesome the PL is as we await its return following the suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Time to take a closer look at the Hornets.


Troy Deeney: Troy Deeney is – and has been – the face of Watford since his move from Walsall in 2010. A move that came about after Deeney, a Birmingham native and Birmingham City supporter growing up, submitted a written transfer request to exit a then-League One side to make his way to the Championship. His first year at Vicarage, however, was rough. The striker managed to score only two goals in 36 league appearances, raising questions about whether or not Deeney was built survive outside England’s third division.

Since that trying first year with the Hornets, Deeney hasn’t looked back, making his way into the “Watford’s best players ever” conversation with a remarkable 129 goals in 388 appearances. Only club legends Luther Blissett – considered by many as the best Hornet ever – and John Barnes have more top-flight gals than Deeney himself. 

Historical, last-gasp win against Leicester City: May 2013, Vicarage Road. Leicester City’s Anthony Knockaert goes down in the box after minimal contact with a Watford defender. A penalty is called in the visitor’s favor. The aggregate stands at 2-2 as the clocks ticks the final seconds of a two-legged Championship play-off semifinal between the Hornets and the Foxes. Knockaert’s shot from the spot – directed right down the middle, with pace – is blocked. His second chance as well. Watford recover and immediately go back the other way.

 

Only seconds remain before the head official sends the match to penalty kicks, but Watford is looking for the final blow. Fernando Forestieri desperately sends a textbook cross inside the box. Jonathan Hogg meets the ball midair and heads it into an incoming Deeney, who seals a goal – and celebration – for the ages.

The Watford-Elton John connection: While Manchester City may have Oasis brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher rooting them on, Watford count on the support of multi-generational musician Elton John. A lifelong Hornet supporter, the English rock legend has done more than just “support” the club from the stands, though. 

In 1976, Elton John became Watford’s chairman and director. He eventually sold the club in 1987 before re-purchasing it a decade later from Jack Petchey. John no longer owns his childhood team, but he remains a part of the club as the honorary life-president.

Premier League Rivalries: North London derby

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One of England’s longest-running and most competitive encounters, the North London derby between Tottenham and Arsenal makes for one of greatest rivalries in Premier League.

The matchup dates back to the early 20th century and has added tons of thrilling chapters to its book of history. Since the start of the Premier League era, both clubs are constantly competing not only to outdo one another but to make a name for themselves at the top echelons of European football.

The North London derby is much more than two rivals facing off for 90 minutes, it’s the dichotomy between the two ways of living in modern-day north London.

Pro Soccer Talk’s Joe Prince-Wright dives into the derbies origin, its development and its actual reality.

The 2 Robbies Podcast: Adapting to life without football

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Robbie Earle & Robbie Mustoe touch base on how their each adapting to day-to-day life without any professional football action worldwide amid the coronavirus pandemic (0:40), how the game moves forward from here (4:50) and what certain players, coaches and teams have done to help out amid trying times (14:00). Plus, discussion on what they’ve been doing to stay active and healthy while living safely in isolation (23:00).

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

To listen to more lively conversations and passionate debate from Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe, subscribe to The 2 Robbies Podcast on Apple Podcasts or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

And you can follow them on Twitter @The2RobbiesNBC here.

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]