Opposition View: Palace fans hope for a draw and mid-table finish

'We'll be good enough for around the middle of the table but not much better.'

Crystal Palace v West Ham, Barclays Premier League, 03 December 2013

The Hammers face the Eagles at Selhurst Park, in another early evening, midweek fixture. Olivia Elliott chatted to Crystal Palace fan James Hogarth, to get his views.

What are West Ham’s strengths & weaknesses? 

Under David Moyes a strength West Ham has is they don’t seem to let their heads drop throughout the game for example the 3-3 draw against Spurs coming back when you were 3-0 down. However, with that being said a weakness that you can’t help is that West Ham always seems to be missing a key player due to an injury like Michail Antonio. 

Who would you consider the best West Ham player is? 

I believe he’s just coming back from injury, but it has to be my favourite Hammer’s player Antonio. Strength, power and speed is what West Ham need and he’s got it all.

How do you think your team will get on this season? 

I think like the last 7-8 seasons we’ll be good enough for around the middle of the table but not much better. Over the moon really considering where the club has been in the recent past years with administration. 

What player for Crystal Palace should opposing teams watch out for? 

Eze has the potential to be a superstar. The way he controls the midfield with little premier league experience is exciting. His link up play with Zaha and Benteke is finally producing the goals we’ve been lacking.

What is the history behind you being called the Eagles?

In the early 70s Malcolm Allison came in and changed the colours to red and blue from claret and blue. He then changed us to ‘the Eagles’ from ‘the Glaziers’ in a sort of shake-up of the clubs image. Some saying the Eagle was meant to represent the Phoenix rising from the ashes of the Crystal Palace devastated by fire in 1936.

Kayla the Eagle passed away earlier this year do you think you’ll get a new Eagle?

I was distraught when we heard of the passing of Kayla, she was such a huge part of the matchday experience for many at the club. I believe we were one of the only clubs in the world to use a live animal mascot so I would love for that to be reinstated but I haven’t heard anything! A lot of money was raised for the protection of birds of prey at a local centre during Kayla’s life so I hope that can still be achieved somehow.

How has ex West Ham player Kouyate improved your team? 

Kouyate has proven to be quite valuable in the sense that with our injury crisis in defence he’s been a pretty reliable makeshift centre-back.

The Palace Ultras how do they keep singing every minute of the game? 

The Ultras are so important for Selhurst Park for noise and getting the rest of the crowd going. I think seeing the positive impact it seems to have on the team and the general ‘buzz’ of the stadium is what keeps them producing one of the best atmospheres in the country.

What are your score predictions for West Ham vs Palace?

2-2

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