We turn to the captain of NBC’s in-studio coverage to make sense of it all. Ladies and gentlemen, the one and only, Rebecca Lowe.
MiB: We’re not even through February and this is already being hailed as one of the most exciting Premier League seasons in history. As someone who watches almost every kick of the ball in real time, how have you experienced this magical season?
RL: I would say it’s THE most exciting Premier League season in history. I am loving every kick – there have been more ‘no way’ moments this season in the studio whilst the chaps and I are watching the games than ever before. I genuinely feel excited for every game, it’s totally impossible to predict and that is the essence of what makes it special. I keep thinking it will revert to the norm, but maybe this is the new norm? And how good would that be? (Except for Chelsea fans. And United fans. And Liverpool.)
MiB: At what point this season did you think to yourself, “Hold on. Leicester are a real threat to win the title?”
RL: Probably when they beat Stoke 3-0. For a number of reasons. Stoke had been playing really well and could have been a banana skin. Jamie Vardy hadn’t been scoring and there were slight questions over his fitness and generally Leicester’s momentum had slowed a bit so I thought to get a 3-0 win v Stoke was the moment they proved they had a second wind in them, that their confidence was almost unwavering and that they didn’t always need Vardy. The win at Manchester City just further enhanced that. But I think the win at the Etihad has even converted the doubters. I mean what was that all about? Unreal.
MiB: Your beloved Palace looked bright until the festive period when the ever electric Yannick Bolasie was injured. They were the last team in the top four tiers of English football to register a single point in 2016 – that point coming last weekend against Swansea. Other than the obvious, what has gone wrong at Selhurst Park?
RL: Yes, this is a slightly worrying time I have to say. I guess being a Palace fan you are by nature a little negative because we have taken so long to reach and stay in the Premier League. And it’s the staying that is so hard. I felt a slight sense from fans and everyone at the club that we were ‘established’ now this season. And we’re not. We can slip, football can change in a week. It could all be over so soon. And that’s terrifying. So I think we should have invested more up top but that’s obvious. It’s hard because Steve Parish has so brilliantly changed the psyche of the club to think like it’s a PL club and I applaud that positive approach, but I also remember the dark days of 6/7 years ago and worry. However, the most important thing is the club are in the best possible hands with Parish and with Pardew.
MiB: When your child is born. The first jersey they own will obviously be Palace. What player’s name will be on the back?
RL: Well I think my husband would disagree – we have a Sacramento Republic FC onesie on order! He’ll have both. And Buckle will be on his back. Like father, like son.
MiB: Look 20-some-odd years into the future. England and the USA both call up your son. Who is he playing for?
RL: Haha! Well, he’ll be born in the USA so we’ll have to say the USA. (Also let’s be honest, MUCH bigger chance of winning something with them!)