Crystal Palace have started their 11th successive season in the Premier League with one win and one defeat.
On the opening weekend, they won 1-0 at newly promoted Sheffield United, before losing 1-0 at home to Arsenal on Monday night.
It has been a summer of change for Palace in some respects with long-serving winger Wilfried Zaha leaving for Galatasaray, but also a time of familiarisation with Roy Hodgson continuing as manager.
This is the Eagles’ longest-ever stay in the top flight – and they have finished between 10th and 15th every season.
It is their fifth spell in the Premier League and the only one which has lasted more than a season.
They had two stints in the old Division One – lasting four and two seasons respectively.
The Eagles have twice reached the FA Cup final – playing Manchester United each time.
In 1989/90, they took United to a replay after a thrilling 3-3 draw at Wembley. However, in the second match five days later, United ran out 1-0 winners.
In 2016, Palace were again runners-up – losing 2-1 after extra-time.
WHO’S IN CHARGE
Roy Hodgson signed a one-year contract in the summer to continue as Crystal Palace manager, after coming in towards the end of last season to ward off the threat of possible relegation – replacing Patrick Vieira.
Roy, who turned 76 earlier this month, has had a long and distinguished career in the game.
Despite being on Palace’s books as a youth team player, his career on the pitch took place in non-league football.
His managerial career began in his 20s at Halmstads in Sweden and he managed three other clubs in the country.
As well as managing England, he also took charge of the national sides of Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and Finland, and Italian clubs Inter Milan and Udinese, and he has also been in charge of many clubs in England.
Roy has been at the helm of Blackburn, Fulham, Liverpool, West Brom and Watford, and this is his second spell managing his boyhood favourites Palace.
He was named League Managers’ Association manager of the season in 2010 after taking Fulham to the Europa League final.
WE’VE MET BEFORE
Fifth time lucky?
All four of our Premier League meetings with Crystal Palace have ended up as draws – will Saturday provide the first positive result between the teams?
Both our games in 2021/22 finished goalless.
Our trip to Selhurst Park in August 2021 was our first-ever Premier League away game and despite the lack of goals, both Conor Gallagher and Bryan Mbeumo hit the woodwork.
The return in February halted a run of five straight Premier League defeats for us, but was most memorable for new signing Christian Eriksen being introduced to the crowd before kick-off.
There was yet another draw at the start of last season, but at least there were a couple of goals.
Wilfried Zaha had put Palace ahead with a wonder strike from the edge of the area, but Yoane Wissa headed in Vitaly Janelt’s cross late on to earn a point and set the travelling Bees fans dancing as it finished 1-1.
It took another last-gasp goal – this time in the sixth minute of stoppage-time to rescue another 1-1 draw for us in the return at the Gtech in February.
Eberechi Eze had put Palace in front in the 69th minute, but Vitaly Janelt finished off Bryan Mbeumo’s cross to earn a point which stretched our unbeaten Premier League run to 11 matches.
Before facing each other in the Premier League, we hadn’t met competitively since the first round of the League Cup in 1977/78.
And our last league meetings before these top flight games were exactly 50 years ago.
When we met in the League Cup first round in the autumn of 1977, ties were played over two legs and hopes were high of a shock Brentford victory when we won the first leg at Griffin Park 2-1.
But in the second leg, Second Division Palace tore apart the Fourth Division Bees with a 5-1 triumph, for a 6-3 aggregate victory.
Our last league meetings before 2021/22 were in Division Three (now League One) in 1963/64 and both matches ended in home wins – the Bees 2-1 in the September, and Palace 1-0 the following January.
Q – What do you make of Palace’s start to the season?
A – The Eagles started with a very positive performance and a win at Sheffield United in which their efforts on goal numbered in the mid-20s with a significant proportion on target. In fact Wes Foderingham proved to be a bit of pain for his old gaffer but Roy’s Boys still got the win they deserved. It all maintained that spirit they had showed at time following the return of Hodgson which was to get the most out of their offensive talent.
The Arsenal encounter was always going to be different against a team who would want to dominate possession and who were expected to win. In some respects it was a strange game with the lead-up to the winning penalty and the red card which forced the Gunners into a more defensive shape. And no doubt there was some disappointment that they couldn’t fashion an equaliser, but there were still positives to take. Last year’s first home game of the season was a 2-0 loss to Arsenal and one which could have had a different outcome so there are parallels.
Three points from the first two games is an acceptable return and a decent platform to build as have been the performances.
Q – What impact will the departure of Wilfried Zaha have on the club?
A – Wilfred was a talismanic player for Palace and for a while it seemed that he might have been tempted to stay in south London. Obviously his loss is one that will initially be felt as he’s the type of player who had the capacity to do something special to wrestle control back in a game. Maybe it was time for him to move on and experience something else, one Palace fan I know said that they were happier he’s decided to play in another league rather than with another club in the Premier League.
Wilf was a big presence in the team and perhaps the space left by his departure will allow others to flourish and provide opportunities for the coaching staff to work on different options.
Q – What do you make of the Eagles’ other summer transfer business?
A – It’s been pretty quiet for the Eagles in the transfer window certainly when it comes to incomings. Jefferson Lerma is a solid addition in midfield and has already formed a good understanding with Cheik Doucoure. The Colombian has great experience in the Premier League and has started positively for his new club which is a great sign.
The other summer signing is Matheus Franca who’s yet to make a debut for the club with a slight injury hampering his start. Roy Hodgson says he’s been impressed by what he’s seen so far. I suppose only time will tell.
The squad has seen a number of departures with the likes of Luca Milivojevic being released and James McArthur announcing his retirement. Both have been great servants to the club and will be fondly remembered for their good times.
Q – What would be a good season for Palace?
A – I think Crystal Palace are in that same group of teams that Thomas Frank places between eighth and 15th in the table. A good season would be to push into the top 10 and make progress on the finishes of the last couple of seasons. Of course it doesn’t take much to climb or drop a couple of places in the Premier League and no doubt the positive thinkers in the fanbase will believe that if things click then the higher objectives could be possible.
Topped with a decent Premier League performance the Eagles have shown that the cups are a great way to deliver some joy. An FA Cup final under Alan Pardew and a semi-final in Patrick Vieria’s first season prove that a trip to Wembley is possible. A good cup run, maybe aided by home ties in front of the passionate home fanbase, is another realistic objective.
Q – What do you think of the reappointment of Roy Hodgson?
A – When Roy and his assistant and ex-Bees manager Ray Lewington returned last season there was a real change of feeling about the Eagles. The vastly experienced pair appeared to loosen the reins on the side and the performances and results became more positive. There was a lot of sympathy for the previous incumbent and some surprise with the return of Roy, but as with other decisions that he has made during his tenure as chairman, Steve Parish appeared to have made the right call.
If I’m honest I wasn’t surprised when Roy was given a new contract in the summer after the job he’d done when returning and the seeming lack of available candidates. It also allows the decision-makers to make a considered approach to what their longer strategy will be towards making a managerial appointment. Roy may not be in the first flush of youth, but his passion for the game combined with his vast experience and qualities as a coach mean that the squad is in good hands.
Q – What do you remember of the four Premier League games between the sides – and can someone finally win one?
A – I think the thing that sticks out in the last couple of seasons of meetings are obviously the closeness of the games but especially last season the lateness of the equalisers.
In the game at Selhurst Park the above mentioned Wilf Zaha showed exactly what he could do but of course it was Yoane Wissa with the late strike for the Bees – made a bit of a habit of that didn’t he!
At the Gtech, the Bees were able to maintain that amazing unbeaten run with Vitaly’s late goal and it displayed how the Bees character and spirit has taken the side forward over the last few years.
Q – Finally, can you give me a possible Eagles formation and line-up please?
Ward Anderson. Guehi Mitchell
Ayew Eze Schlupp
HOW TO FOLLOW THE GAME IF YOU CAN’T BE THERE
If you can’t get to the Brentford Community Stadium for Saturday’s 3.00pm kick-off and want Brentford commentary, audio coverage is available via Buzz Box for free.
Coverage starts half an hour before kick-off and is advert-free, with Mark Burridge and Brentford women’s team striker Kirsty Matthews.
There will also be full commentary on BBC Radio London.
PUBS IN BRENTFORD AND TRAVEL NEWS
For Palace fans coming to the Gtech Community Stadium, there are plenty of pub options pre and post-match and all are most welcoming and away-fan-friendly (as it should be).
The pub areas are split into two zones. There is the area around Brentford’s old Griffin Park stadium. The pubs there are still very busy on match day frequented by Bees locals before heading down the road to the stadium at Kew Bridge which is only 15 mins walk.
Then there is the area in and around the stadium in Kew Bridge.
It is possible, if you have a good early start, to savour a few pubs in and around Griffin Park and Brentford zone before heading off to the pubs in the Kew zone or even vice versa if you so fancy.
Pubs in Griffin Park/Brentford zone
When at Griffin Park, Brentford was well known for its four pubs – one on each corner of the ground. Three are still operating.
The Griffin is closest to the old away end and has always been very popular with both home and away fans and has its regulars who still make the journey down to the new stadium from there on matchday. The New Inn is on the other side which used to also be popular with away fans before the move. The Brook pub is the other option if you want to savour a pub in and around what is left of our old home. Worth a peep if you want to reminisce about old Brentford.
About five minutes’ walk away from the old ground are two pubs which are enormously popular. The Globe (Windmill Rd) is a “lively but comfortable” pub on matchday. Incredibly friendly and cosy, it has always been popular with a selection of away fans who fancied having a beer a few minutes further walk away from the ground without having to queue six persons deep. After the move to the new ground, The Globe has retained many of lot its regulars from the Griffin Park days and with screens throughout the pub and in its sheltered beer garden, it shows both Premier League and EFL football before and after each match.
Meanwhile around the corner, The Lord Nelson (Enfield Rd) is another incredibly friendly and cosy away-friendly pubs about one minute walk from The Globe. Again with a TV screen for live sports and a lovely beer garden, this is another pub frequented by “away fans in the know”.
The other pub worth checking out in the Griffin Park region is The Black Dog Beer House, formerly The Albany, on Albany Road, if you like your real ales.
There are plenty of other pubs in and around Brentford High Street including real ale pub Magpie and Crown (Brentford High Street) and the cosy Brewery Tap (Catherine Wheel Road) near the river.
For a Griffin Park area pub crawl before heading over to Kew we recommend the following: Take the Piccadilly line to Northfields station. Turn left and walk for 2 mins and you will come to The Plough (Northfields Ave). Then walk to The Lord Nelson (10 min walk from The Plough) & then The Globe (1 min walk from The Nelson) en-route before hitting The Griffin (8 min walk from The Globe) and then The Black Dog (2 mins from The Griffin). You can also try and do the other three pubs on the corner whilst down here if you fancy.
Then you can then either walk (15 minutes from The Globe/The Nelson and The Griffin/Black Dog ) or take a train from Brentford station (which is five minutes walk away from both The Globe/The Nelson and The Griffin/Black Dog) or a bus (237/267) to Kew Bridge.
Trains run at 24 and 54 minutes past the hour to Kew Bridge from Brentford and take 2 mins.
Pubs in the Kew Bridge zone
Right next to Kew Bridge station, you will find the Express Tavern – an ale pub with a retro feel. The pub has been refurbished in readiness for the new football season and needless to say, is popular before the match due to its close proximity to the stadium.
Across the road by the river is One Over the Ait – a spacious boozer right next to Kew Bridge. This pub is situated on the location of the now-demolished Oxford & Cambridge pub where Brentford Football Club was founded in 1889.
Across Kew Bridge and the River Thames, there are two pubs on Kew Green – the Cricketers and the Greyhound – very close to the pier where Brentford fans have embarked on their away journeys by water to F*lham, Orient, Charlton, West Ham and even Southend.
North of the river along hoity-toity Strand on the Green, you will find The Steam Packet, in an old Cafe Rouge, and The Bell. A bit further down are The City Barge and the Bulls Head – two pubs side-by-side in which you would often see Ant and Dec hanging out.
There is also The Pilot which you can get to coming out of the BACK entrance of Gunnersbury station and we believe the old John Bull pub at the front of the station has been refurbed as The Gunnersbury but we have never been there so can’t give it a or a
Transport to Brentford and Kew Bridge
The simplest on paper to get to Brentford FC from town is to get the tube to Waterloo (Northern, Jubilee lines) or Vauxhall (Victoria Line) and then take the Overground train to Kew Bridge, which is right by the stadium. Brentford is one stop further on if you are on an ‘Original Griffin Park Pub’ mission.
With trains from Waterloo being only twice an hour (22 and 52) and taking 28 minutes, we normally recommend people jump on the tube from Kings Cross or Euston and head to Northfields or South Ealing on the Piccadilly Line as it is quicker (including the time getting across London and waiting at Waterloo) and trains are more frequent.
It is only 40 mins max station by tube to station meaning you could be in a Brentford pub within an hour of embarking your train at Kings Cross, Euston or Liverpool Street.
The other station option is Gunnersbury. You can walk to the stadium from Gunnersbury tube station (District line) in 25 minutes or take a bus (H91, 237, 267, 110), but note that it is closed for entry for one hour after the match.
For the Brentford/Griffin Park pubs you can get the Piccadilly line tube to Northfields station from King’s Cross or Euston (35 minutes) then walk down to The Plough, The Globe, The Lord Nelson and The Griffin and other pubs from there.
The new stadium is around 25 minutes’ walk from South Ealing station – if you don’t fancy Gunnersbury – or you can get on the 65 bus from across the road which will drop you almost outside in 15 minutes.
You can also pick up the 65 bus from Ealing Broadway (district and central line) which will take you to the new stadium in 25 minutes.
You can check out Transport for London’s guide to travel on the Tube and Overground.