Polish International In Palace Talks

Crystal Palace are reportedly closing in on the signing of Poland international centre-back Jarosław Jach from Zagłębie Lubin.

The 23 year-old defender is poised to have a medical ahead of a €3 million euros (£2.64m) move from the Polish Ekstraklasa side. 

After long-term injuries to Mamadou Sakho and Scott Dann, Roy Hodgson has been forced into the market for defensive reinforcements following the heavy 1-4 defeat to Arsenal this weekend.

Jach has less than 100 competitive games to his name in Polish domestic football but was a prominent figure for the national team’s Under 21s side. He has since picked up two caps for the senior Poland side ahead of the World Cup in Russia this summer.

A move to the Premier League would present Jach with an opportunity to impress on a global playing field.

Benfica Midfielder Set For Palace Medical

S.L. Benfica midfielder Erdal Rakip is to undergo a medical at Crystal Palace ahead of completing a loan deal til the end of the season.

The Sweden U21 international recently completed a move to the Portuguese giants this month after his contract expired at boyhood club Malmö FF.

 

 

Rakip signed a long-term deal to keep him at the Estadio da Luz until 2022, but he will now be loaned out to Palace to aid his development in the Premier League.

Roy Hodgson still retains strong ties in the Scania capital with a club he is heralded as a great. The 70 year-old enjoyed great success as head coach of Malmö FF in the 1980s, winning five consecutive league titles and two Swedish cups during a five-year reign.

Those connections have led to ‘Royson’ pursuing a deal for one of Scandinavia’s brightest young talents. 21 year-old Rakip flew into London on Friday with his advisor Hasan Cetinkaya before talks and a medical were arranged.

The creative midfielder scored nine goals in 30 games as Malmö lifted the 2017 Swedish title. He would go straight into a Palace squad in the midst of an injury crisis and suffering from the heavy defeat to the hands of Arsenal this weekend.

 

 

 

Palace Launch £16m Bid For French Midfielder

Crystal Palace have reportedly bid £16million for Lille defensive midfielder Ibrahim Amadou.

The Eagles have been forced into the market for defensive reinforcements after the long-term injuries suffered by first-choice central defenders Mamadou Sakho and Scott Dann.

Amadou, 24, was believed to be a target for Palace in the last January transfer window before the Eagles signed Luka Milivojevic from Olympiakos. The Cameroon-born utility man is adaptable to play across the back four or in central midfield positions after recently being promoted to captain of the Ligue 1 club.

It is rumoured Lille are under pressure from the French footballing authorities for breaching financial rules and owing unpaid debt. A sale of around €20 million euros would raise the majority of the funds needed to escape prosecution.

After Palace’s impressive run of form in the Premier League, they are once again an attractive proposition to join. Roy Hodgson confirmed his side need significant reinforcements after recent injuries further jeopardised the already depleted Palace squad.

 

The M23 Showdown

Crystal Palace travel to Brighton and Hove Albion tomorrow night in what will be a pulsating showdown between two arch enemies in the Premier League.

Dating back many moons ago to the days of Alan Mullery and Malcolm Allison, the M23 rivalry has intensified to extreme hatred and bitterness between the two clubs. The AMEX Stadium is set to play host to the first derby game between Palace and Brighton in the Premier League era.

The home side will likely be slight favourites after enjoying an excellent debut campaign in the Premier League so far. Defying expectations and more than holding their own, Albion look at home in the Premier League and have become a more steady outfit than their arch rivals Palace this season. Brighton will be buoyant by their recent impressive form, despite falling short of luck in an undeserved 0-1 defeat to Manchester United on Saturday. They sit comfortably in mid-table and will fancy their chances tomorrow evening.

Palace, however, will be brimming with positivity themselves. Mamadou Sakho’s dramatic late winner against Stoke City at the weekend saw the Eagles finally secure a second league win of the season and are now breathing down the necks of the sides above. Considering expectation levels and confidence in recent weeks, the South London side should be desperate for a win which will do miracles for momentum.

A one-off fixture and a highly emotional game, both sides should be wary of a derby fixture and the implications of defeat. A win would make Palace’s season whereas a defeat for Brighton may shatter their confidence.

Palace will be delighted to see the return to fitness of many of their previously missing stars as the injuries begin to dry up. Christian Benteke is back in contention for a starting spot after returning from a two-month lay-off. Andros Townsend and Wilfried Zaha may continue up front with a midfield four behind them. Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Yohan Cabaye have been a revelation in midfield recently with James Tomkins returning to partner Mamadou Sakho at the back.

From a Palace perspective, tomorrow’s game will be a test of our players’ progression since Hodgson took over. Despite results slowly improving and stronger performances by the week, it would be foolish to jump the gun and get ahead of ourselves. Every time things begin to look rosy, it goes back down to the bottom with anger and pain. We should 100% be confident of winning tomorrow, but so should Brighton. On our day, if we show up and turn in a performance we know these players are capable of, we should win. The luck has to change our way at some point. Against Stoke, maybe there was evidence it was?

Let’s believe in ourselves and take the points. 1-2 COYP.

Who Palace Need To Buy In January

After the first quarter of the Premier League season, Crystal Palace find themselves staring up from the basement of the table. With survival prospects fading, what would it take for Roy Hodgson to save the Eagles in January? Or if relegation looks certain by then, should Palace start planning for the second tier? Let’s consider how they could still save their dire season…

If unreliable rumours are to be believed, Steve Parish is ready to give Hodgson a £40 million war chest to spend in the winter window. As promising as it seems, why on earth did they not just spend the money in the summer? It makes absolutely no sense and surely seems unlikely, despite giving Sam Allardyce a similar budget last January. Let’s say, in this market, we are given £25-30 million to spend. This is what we should hope to get…

ST – Beginning with the obvious, Palace currently have no strikers available for selection besides the inexperienced Freddie Ladapo. Probably the most inexplicable scenario in recent times, a top-flight football club has had to play without a centre forward in the most competitive league in the world. Enough of the moaning, it speaks for itself. Even when Christian Benteke and the injury-prone Connor Wickham return from injury, Palace are playing a risky game in a tricky winter period. At the very minimum, a high-level forward must come in to offer an outlet and something different for the side. If possible, Hodgson would be wishing to recruit a further addition on top of that, too. I’ll leave it to our infamous scouting system to find the right ones. £10 million each? Or one £15-20 million hotshot?

GK – The return of club legend Julian Speroni has steadied the ship in recent games, but in reality, the 38-year old Argentinian is riding off past glory. Undoubtedly a leader and inspiring figure in goal, it would unfairly be asking too much for the miracle worker to save us again. A football club needs three first-team goalkeepers to compete with one another, so it’s not at all surprising that Palace only have two! Wayne Hennessey must never return to goal for the sake of the team’s confidence, but a new goal-saver must now be as big a priority as recruiting a goalscorer at the other end of the pitch. £5-10 million?

RB or CB – As weak as Palace are at right full-back, Fosu-Mensah is learning the game well and just needs confidence to play ahead of the poor Joel Ward. James Tomkins is never fully fit for a run of games and Scott Dann doesn’t seem as convincing as he once was. For Mamadou Sakho’s benefit, it may be useful to find a new centre-back partner if Tomkins or Dann can’t remain consistent. Palace definitely need something new on the right side of that defence, whether RCB or RB. £10 million signing?

CAM – Palace have been crying out for a number ten playmaker for years, ever since Andre Moritz dazzled for us with all Brazilian flair in our promotion-winning season. Hodgson’s side lack somebody who unlock the door and pick out the forwards with perfect precision and class. Yohan Cabaye shows glimpses of acting in this role, but ideally it needs to be somebody more attack-minded? A classy foreigner in the mould of Coutinho, Lanzini, Tadic would be nice. There aren’t obvious candidates around at the moment… I wonder if the scouting network knows what a playmaking midfielder is? We’ll have to wait and see. Here’s hoping… Foreign loan deal or big money move if we raise cash from sales?

Let us know your thoughts via our social media pages at Selhurst Sound!

 

 

 

Zaha Saves Palace From The Mire

Wilfried Zaha rescued a last-gasp equaliser as Crystal Palace drew 2-2 with West Ham United on Saturday in a thrilling London derby at Selhurst Park.

The Hammers stunned the home crowd by racing into a two goal lead by half-time through goals from Javier Hernández and André Ayew. Palace pulled a goal back early on in the second period through Luka Milivojević’s penalty, before Zaha performed heroics to level the scores with the last kick of the game.

Defeat for Palace would have left them in a precarious position adrift at the bottom of the table, but pre-kick off only victory was seen as acceptable up against another relegation rival at home. Considering the dramatic circumstances, to salvage a point at the end will build great momentum at the club despite Palace fully meriting the three points.

The game began with great anticipation and nerves from both sets of players and fans as the first half-hour served up a poor spectacle. Palace dominated possession but regularly squandered the ball back to the away side in promising forward areas. Dutch left-back Patrick van Aanholt was forced to withdraw midway through the half after appearing to suffer a hamstring injury.

 

There was nothing between the sides before Javier Hernández scored a well-worked goal on the counter-attack. Palace were caught up field as the Hammers broke through a dazzling run from Ayew. He twisted and turned past Cabaye and Tomkins before playing the ball out left to wing-back Aaron Cresswell. The former Ipswich Town man played a swift ball across the box for deadly poacher Hernández to drive home from ten yards.

The Mexican was clearly delighted with his first goal in five games resulting from his first shot on target in four league matches. Palace would feel hard done by at conceding the opening goal and it wouldn’t get any easier for them. After forcing attacking situations from set piece corners and free-kicks, former Irons defender and avid fan James Tomkins rose highest from Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s header back into the danger zone to force Joe Hart into a top-class save. The rebound fell onto the floor before Jeffrey Schlupp directed the ball back on target, only for Hart to fortuitously block the effort over the bar.

As Palace continued to push for an equaliser, the killer blow fell their way once again as Ayew turned home a sublime individual goal after Milivojević’s mistake. The Serbian midfielder turned into danger away from the Hammers goal before losing balance and surrendering position on half-way. The Ghana international darted in and out of Scott Dann before firing into the roof of the net in off the bar. The Eagles looked dead on the floor and totally flabbergasted at going down to the only two shots on their goal in the half.

The second half sprung into life instantly as Andros Townsend was carelessly impeded in the box by Angelo Ogbonna for a penalty.  Milivojević atoned for his first-half error and coolly stepped up to send Hart the wrong way. The goal sparked the crowd into life as Selhurst returned to its usually loud atmosphere. Palace looked like a new side vying for revenge and justice.

For the rest of the game, Palace totally battered West Ham to the very last kick. Yohan Cabaye hit the post and James Tomkins was denied by the crossbar as Joe Hart’s goal was peppered with action. The England number one proved his critics wrong as time and time again he denied Zaha, Cabaye and Townsend amongst many in the twelve shots on target. After his heroic fingertip onto the bar to deny Tomkins in injury time, Palace found one last opportunity to squeeze the ball into the Hammers net.

Michail Antonio found himself with the ball up the far end of the pitch in the Palace half. Instead of retaining the ball for the fifteen seconds which remained, he attempted to pick out a teammate in the box to no avail. Disastrously, West Ham were caught way up field only for Palace to work the ball back to Zaha on the inside left. He swiveled past Ogbonna to the byline before cutting back inside and planting an expertly taken finish into the far bottom corner. Wild celebrations occurred as Palace felt great relief at salvaging the point.

Relief at the final whistle for Palace in a game they should have comprehensively won. Much the better side, Roy Hodgson’s men once again suffered rotten luck and were desperately unfortunate to bogey side West Ham. Slavan Bilić will be left cursing his side’s lack of professionalism in seeing out the game and is holding onto his job by the fingernails. The Hammers next face Liverpool on Saturday night at the London Stadium. Palace travel up to the North of the capital on Sunday lunchtime to face Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium.

Welcome relief in the end for us and finally feeling the magic of football once again with moments such as this. West Ham were beyond jammy and infuriatingly close to stealing another unjust win off us. Similar to the Swansea game, they rarely threatened and would’ve pulled off one of the luckiest wins ever if it wasn’t for our heroics. Just as well Wilf is top-class then, as we just about keep ourselves hanging in there. Spurs away next week is a bonus match which we will no doubt lose, but after that it becomes a lot more attainable to get points on the board. Up the Palace and keep the faith! I certainly lost it at half-time but football is a game of two emotions. Let’s rediscover more of that positive feeling. Eagles!

 

Crystal Palace 2 – 2 West Ham United – Match Ratings

CRYSTAL PALACE

Julián Speroni 6

Joel Ward 5.5 (Bakary Sako 6.5)

Scott Dann 6

James Tomkins 7

Patrick van Aanholt 6 (Timothy Fosu-Mensah 6.5)

Luka Milivojević 7

Yohan Cabaye 8.5

Ruben Loftus-Cheek 6.5

Jeffrey Schlupp 5.5

Andros Townsend 8

Wilfried Zaha 8

 

WEST HAM UNITED

Joe Hart 9 MOTM

Pablo Zabaleta 5 (Michail Antonio 4)

José Fonte 6 (Declan Rice 5.5)

Cheikhou Kouyaté 6

Angelo Ogbonna 5.5

Aaron Cresswell 6.5 (Arthur Masuaku 6)

Mark Noble 6

Edimilson Fernandes 6

André Ayew 7.5

Manuel Lanzini 6.5

Javier Hernández 7