After the tough match against Liverpool on Boxing Day which saw us win our ninth home league game out of nine, City welcome Crystal Palace next, a side down in 17th but who are finding a bit of form. I spoke to Jack Steadman, not the lead singer from Bombay Bicycle Club, a mate of mine who is a Palace season ticket holder and a bloody good bloke. He gives us the inside track on all things Palace.
Hi Jack, nice to have you on. First off, will Palace stay up?
Hi Rob, this conversation’s been in the making for a while, hasn’t it? Looked like it might happen in the FA Cup last year but our new manager’s old side knocked us out. I think Palace can definitely stay up, provided we add two or three quality players in January. Tony Pulis has been there and done it before and got the baseball cap to prove it. I wasn’t in favour of appointing him at the time, but it’s hard to argue with his record.
You must be pretty chuffed with the results he’s getting?
Definitely. We just don’t have the players to play the attacking, possession football Holloway was aiming for. You can’t play like Barcelona when you have Damien Delaney at the back. That’s basically science. I’d love to see us play football properly in the future, but for now, we need to be pragmatic.
Who’s your best player so far this season?
Our right-back Joel Ward, easily. He looks so comfortable. Pulis has had enough confidence in him that he’s already deputised at left-back and central midfield. If he keeps playing like this, he’ll play for England eventually. I look forward to seeing how he fares against Silva, Nasri and Navas.
What’s been your best performance this season?
Probably Cardiff at home. I know they’re another newly-promoted side but we were in control throughout in a “six pointer”. To be honest, though, it’s generally been great fun even when we lose. We have fantastic fans, as I’m sure you’ll find out tomorrow. I’m just enjoying the ride; we almost folded in 2010 after surviving relegation on the last day of the season, and now we’re in the Premier League. Madness.
Predicted Palace starting XI?
Speroni / Ward, Gabbidon, Delaney, Parr / Puncheon, Jedinak, KG, Bannan / Chamakh, Jerome. That’s if KG is fit. After yesterday’s goal, I’d rather see Gayle up top than Jerome, but the Etihad may not be the best place to put him back in the starting 11…
Which City player would you most like to sign?
Probably Toure. Aguero is your best player for me, but small, technical, attacking players wouldn’t/don’t see enough of the ball for us. Toure would drive the team from midfield. How does £500k plus Kevin Phillips sound?
Who’ll win the league?
I agree with Rodgers; it’s yours to lose. That must be a weird feeling for a club used to being the underdog?
We’ll always feel like underdogs, Jack. Give me a quick score prediction.
1-0 to Palace, Damien Delaney at the death. You heard it here first.
Interview by Rob Pollard