Typical City: Hi Jay, thanks for speaking to us. Crystal Palace are currently sitting pretty in second place behind City. Your start to the season has been excellent so far. How are your new signings settling in? What are your expectations for City’s visit?
Jay Crame: We have once again exceeded expectations with a terrific start to the season. All of the new signings have settled in well after what was a great summer transfer window for us which has made the squad of players even stronger. There are so many options for Alan Pardew now, which can only be a good thing. There is a feeling that we should not be scared of any team now after our great win at Stamford Bridge last time out.
The team has evolved on the pitch since last season; the signing of Yohan Cabaye has seen us increase our attacking power and playing less of a defensive formation which has not found a place for Mile Jedinak or Joe Ledley. They will have their time again, I am sure but for now, I am enjoying being second in the table.
In honesty, City have been fantastic so far this season and have set the standard for the other title challengers. There is a long way to go but you have shown you are the team to beat right now. In saying that, I think we can cause you problems with our pace and exciting midfield but our back line will have to at their best to keep out your multitude of attacking talents. It promises to be an exciting top of the table clash. The television companies will be kicking themselves for not choosing to have this one live.
TC: The Palace counter attack looks particularly dangerous this year. Is this the main thing City should be watching out for or are there other dangers to be wary of?
JC: Yes, I think so but do not underestimate Connor Wickham. He has yet to score but has been a massive part of our play since the start of the season. His performances against Arsenal and Chelsea were underestimated and only shadowed by the attacking performances on show for us. Both James McArthur and Bakary Sako have been in great form and I am expecting to see Yannick Bolasie cause a lot of problems.
TC: City have been magnificent going forward this season. How has the Palace defence been performing? What do they need to do to hold City off?
JC: Our defence has been great at both ends of the pitch. Between them they have scored four goals so far, only our left back has not made the score sheet. Damien Delaney was immense at Chelsea while Scott Dann is just his usual excellent self. Pape Souare is really turning into a great acquisition which leaves me with Joel Ward. He is our week link after for so long being one of our best defenders. He was at fault for both Arsenal goals the other week and is taking time to get going this season. Not sure why, perhaps lack of fitness, but he has not been quite what we have come to expect.
Alex McCarthy has been the surprise as we were all expecting Wayne Hennessey to take Julian Speroni’s place when he got injured but fair play to Pardew, he was his signing and he has gone for him. His form suggests that Speroni will struggle to get back in. Made a fantastic double save at Chelsea which at 0-0 was crucial.
TC: Alan Pardew is a hero at Selhurst Park but doubts remain over his suitability to take Palace to the next level. What’s your opinion of him so far? Is his progress so far the beginning of something great or are we coming up to his limits?
JC: There was no better appointment and obviously it is so easy to say now but he has an affinity with the fans that goes way back. He would always be welcomed and such a manager would be given some time if things did not go that well. Thankfully, our stock has increased hugely over the last five years right up to the point where we are now. There was a thought about where the club goes from a 10th place finish from last season but the positive signings in the summer says everything about what the club want and that is striving to improve and evolve. Pardew seems to have found his place and the sky really is the limit. A board backing him is proving to be paying real dividends and long may it continue. He has proved that he has the tactical knowledge to change a game and admits when he has made a mistake. Plenty of managers can take some tips from that kind of honesty.
TC: Predicted Palace line up?
JC: McCarthy – Souare, Dann, Delaney, Ward – McArthur, Puncheon, Cabaye, Sako,
Bolasie – Wickham
Interview by Alex Timperley