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INSIDE INFO: A Palace perspective

We spoke to Crystal Palace blog The Eagle's Beak ahead of Southampton's last game of the 2015/16 Premier League campaign.

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This week we spoke to Crystal Palace blog The Eagle's Beak to get the lowdown on Southampton's opponents on Sunday afternoon.

Please read, like, share and, most importantly, enjoy this week's edition of INSIDE INFO - the original (we're looking at you, www.saintsfc.co.uk) Saints column which gets the opposition's views ahead of their match against our beloved Southampton.

Read what we had to say to Palace fans on their blog here.

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St. Mary's Musings: What were your expectations for this season and how do they compare to what transpired in this 2015-16 campaign?

The Eagle's Beak: A finish in the top ten last season was always going to be difficult to improve on and there was a real thought by many fans about where we go from there. Then the signing of Yohan Cabaye happened and we all thought the club mean business. Obviously, Leicester have shown us all how to improve on a previous season so ours has been poor in comparison. However, after a season of two very different halves we find ourselves in the FA Cup final which is just absolutely brilliant so what has been a poor second half of the season for us could turn into something very special indeed. We will have to wait and see...

SMM: Can you explain the slump in form endured by Palace in the second half of the season?

TEB: Not at all! It is so difficult to pinpoint exactly what the problem has been although it is clear there have been contributing factors. I have never known a season quite like for injuries, I think every one of our first eleven has had a spell out injured but the three we have missed the most were lengthy lay offs for Yannick Bolasie, Connor Wickham and James McArthur. So difficult to replace like for like at a club like Palace. Squad players are such for a reason. Combine that with a real loss of form by players at a similar time has compounded matters but thankfully we managed to find a way of getting results in the FA Cup which has been our saving grace, or more to the point, Pardew's!

SMM: Is the FA Cup final enough to salvage your poor league form in appeasing your fans?

TEB: Yes, I think so. Especially if we go on and win it. Appearing in the FA Cup final does not come around often for the majority of clubs so you have to take your chances and enjoy it while you can. This is only our second FA Cup final in the clubs history, bizarrely against the same team! So many comparisons for this time around it is untrue. Just hoping we go one better. If you had asked fans before the season and said a lowly league finish and the FA Cup final, most would have taken it.

SMM: What are your thoughts on Alan Pardew?

TEB: He has done well since he has arrived and perhaps he survived the poor run of form this second half this season both because he is a former player well thought of by the fans and the fact that we managed to stay in the FA Cup. He has a history of long winless streaks at previous clubs and we have been no different. Some have called for a change but for me, he has deserved the summer to revitalise the squad and the first ten to fifteen games of next season. He cannot have another winless run though, that much I am certain.

SMM: What do you and other Palace fans think about Southampton as a club?

TEB: Likeable and one that it certainly would not be a bad thing if Palace tried to emulate, just not the journey down to League 1 that you had to endure though thanks! Just impressed with how the club has gone about their business particularly when losing top players and your former manager. Always a good away day too may I add.

SMM: Who has been Palace's best player this season?

TEB: There are a couple in with a shout but for me Wilfried Zaha. Many were worried that he would be damaged goods after his bad experience at Manchester United but this season we have seen him return to his best. He particular shone when Yannick Bolasie was out injured for a while which perhaps put more pressure on him to perform out wide but he really excelled.

SMM: If you could sell any Palace player from your regular starting XI, who would it be and why?

TEB: Wayne Hennessey. As the season has gone on the defence have clearly lost confidence in him after several mistakes. He has managed a few excellent saves but the ones that stick in the mind are the ones he has got wrong and that is not ideal in a goalkeeper. Certainly not hanging him out to dry but I really think we can and should do better.

SMM: If you could sign any Saints player, who would it be and why?

TEB: Virgil van Dijk without question. Gutted that we missed out on him when he signed for you and he has been so impressive this season. I hate to say it but he will encourage a few bids in the summer from one or two of the bigger clubs but hope you can hold on to him.

SMM: Finally, what is your prediction for Sunday?

TEB: So hard to judge this one but with one eye that we will no doubt have on the cup final and the Saints arguably need this one that bit more. I will predict a 2-1 loss for Palace, It is not often I predict Palace to lose so you can have that one for free!