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April 10 2020 4.15am

8 reasons to be positive for the final

May 19 2016

Alan Pardew

Alan Pardew

Can Crystal Palace lift the FA Cup? Here are 8 reasons why the Eagles can do it, writes Doug Caston.

1. The pressure is all on the opposition

The feeling around South London at the moment is a mixture of hope, pride and anticipation. While we all believe the team can win the final, there is no expectations on the them. This cannot be said of Manchester United. And with this one last chance for silverware in their underwhelming season, the pressure to succeed is bound to set in. With no Champions League next season and having finished a disappointing fifth, can a waning Man U squad cope with the magnitude of this occasion?

2. The barmiest fans in the league!

I suppose if you are reading an article on this site there’s no need to tell you how magnificent the support is at Palace. And while an equal amount of Man United supporters will make the pilgrimage from Hertfordshire or whichever home county they're from, it's fair to assume they’ll be no match for the red and blue army. Expect our fans to drown their supporters out and give this feel of a home game despite being played on the neutral turf of Wembley. We did it in the semis and it’s bound to be the case again this weekend.

3. Palace's squad fitter and fresher

While we’re all aware about what happened at Southampton last weekend this was largely due to Alan Pardew fielding a weakened side in order to keep key first team players fresh for this massive game. United on the other hand only made one change for their postponed league game against Bournemouth, and a similar to what many suspect will be their cup final starting line-up. Will their squad be at its sharpest without getting any rest?

4. United have lacked consistency

This season in particular United have really fallen by the wayside and failed to achieve the results a club of their stature should be achieving. Bar the FA Cup, they have put in a mediocre performance in all competitions and are in many senses lucky to have even got to the final. With inconsistency becoming an issue and having failed to deliver in so many important matches, it’s certainly not inconceivable that they may fail to deliver again on cup final day.

5. Year of the underdog

In a year where Leicester won the league, surely it would only make sense if Palace won the FA Cup? It’s been a season where the so-called 'big four' have hardly dominated and now all preconceptions of what a smaller club can achieve have changed for good. In particular, the footballing juggernaut that was Manchester United in the 90s and noughties is long gone and they have faded into a rather bland and uninspired team. To quote the wonderfully eloquent Joey Barton; a lot of the big clubs have “lost their fear factor”.

6. It’s LVG, not Fergie this time round

In the 1990 final Palace were held to a 3-3 draw, requiring a replay, which Man United eventually went on to win 1-0. The spirit and determination showed by Man U to pin Palace back to a draw went on to become somewhat of a trademark in Alex Ferguson's career. Louis van Gaal has not proven himself to possess this kind of managerial steel and United are a shadow of the side they were with Fergie's steady hand.

7. Comparison of cup runs

Palace have had an absolutely heroic cup run to reach the final, and particularly in earlier stages of the competition, had to see off some tough opponents. Palace have got the better of; Southampton, Stoke, Spurs, Reading and Watford on the road to the final. United, however, have only had to face a couple of Premier Legaue sides: Sheffield United, Derby, Shrewsbury, West Ham and Everton.

8. We’ve got a squad we should believe in!

I think it’s worth reminding ourselves we do have real quality in the team. While league form has been patchy, to say the least, since Christmas all our players have shown themselves to be capable of playing at the highest level at some point this season. This will be for most of the team the biggest game of their careers so far, they have shown passion and commitment to the club at every stage and I have every faith that they can rise to the occasion and make history at the club. Come on you Palace!


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