Hopkin Looking To Curl One…

A regular blog dedicated to Crystal Palace Football Club through the eyes of a fanatical supporter, contemplating everything from results to the colour of Stuart O'Keefe's boot laces…

James McArthur Could Well Return Against Sunderland

After James McArthur missed last weekend’s 2-2 draw with West Brom, thanks to an injury he sustained against Chelsea, Richard Cawley is reporting in the South London Press, that the Scotsman is back in contention for a starting role on Monday night against Sunderland.

Having played a pivotal role in our early season success in the centre of a midfield three that includes Mile Jedinak and Joe Ledley, McArthur’s calmness in possession and tenacity when without the ball is already rapidly turning him into a fan favourite at Selhurst Park, and now, having spent close to two weeks on the sidelines, his manager feels he may be ready to re-take his place in the team.

Speaking earlier this week, Warnock said:

“I thought he might be a couple of weeks but I wouldn’t write him off for Sunderland.

“He always wants to play. He wanted to stay on when he got his injury.”

With the possibility of both Damien Delaney and Scott Dann also returning to the starting eleven for the visit of Gus Poyet’s Black Cats, there could well be a real buzz around the ground prior to kick-off, with the potentially returning trio bringing a degree of steel back to the side, following a reshuffle against West Brom last Saturday.

After back-to-back defeats for Sunderland, within which they’ve conceded 10 goals and scored none, you would assume that their confidence will be extremely low, with the prospect of a trip to South London on a damp Monday night in front of the Sky cameras coming at precisely the wrong time.

Of course, there is always the potential for overconfidence from our perspective given the circumstances that surround the game, but having let a two goal lead slip in our last league outing against West Brom, I would suggest that the players will be desperate to put in a solid performance in a game that is already being viewed by some as a potential relegation six pointer.

Forgetting the desire for aesthetically pleasing football for a moment, I don’t think there is much doubt that the vast majority of Palace fans will take a victory on Monday evening in any way imaginable, ideally with James McArthur at the heart of everything that is good about our performance on the night.

For rolling news and comment on everything happening at Crystal Palace FC, follow Hopkin Looking To Curl One… on twitter by clicking here.

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West Brom Respond To Speroni Comments With Crass Official Statement

West Bromwich Albion have this evening taken the dramatic decision to release an official statement, condemning Julian Speroni and backing defender Craig Dawson in the aftermath of his elbow to the face of the Argentine keeper last Saturday.

It seems the Midlands club were left angered by an interview Speroni gave, which questioned why he hadn’t received an apology from Dawson, given the fact that he was knocked unconscious and forced to leave the game as a direct result of the elbow the defender hit him with at the start of the second half.

The interview given by Speroni, highlights just how strongly he still feels about the incident, with a real source of his anger seemingly stemming from the fact that Dawson has shown no remorse for a challenge which could have had serious implications for Speroni, had it landed elsewhere on his skull.

He said:

“I am really disappointed with the whole situation – I can’t understand how he got away with it really.

“The fact this guy (Dawson) just ran from outside the six-yard box just towards me with no intention whatsoever of playing the ball and elbow me like that.

“Somebody has to do something. There has been no apology from him and it disappoints me. I was expecting something from the guy.

“It is hard to see these things not getting punished. What are people waiting for? I was quite lucky – if he caught me in a different area it could have been a lot worse than it was.”

Clearly still perturbed by Dawson’s refusal to apologise for a challenge which was widely criticised by the sporting press across the country afterwards, Speroni feels, quite rightly, as though there has been a lack of genuine care from West Brom’s perspective, but following his words, they have released the statement attached below.

Head coach Alan Irvine said: “We are extremely disappointed by these comments. The simple fact is Craig was only focused on winning the ball and has no case to answer.
“The challenge was seen at the time by the match officials and they clearly reached the same decision.
“Anyone who knows Craig knows him to be a totally honest player whose only intention is to ever play the ball.
“Our club is at the forefront of raising awareness about head injuries and would never take lightly such a matter. To suggest there was any malice in Craig’s challenge is entirely wrong.”

Quite why Alan Irvine feels there is a need to justify the fact that Dawson is a “totally honest player” is anyone’s guess, with the most simple answer coming in the shape of an actual apology from the defender himself for any injury or pain that may have occurred from an entirely “unintentional” challenge. Should that truly be the case, surely he would be upset at the prospect of hurting a fellow professional and consequently be keen to ensure that he was fine following the incident, rather than refusing to accept that his elbow smashed into his skull, regardless of any malicious intent.

Given the fact that former West Brom player Jeff Astle died prematurely as a result of head injuries believed to have been sustained during his playing career; a subject that receives regular publicity from the Baggies themselves in the shape of the “Justice For Jeff” campaign, this latest development shows a real lack of class on their part, as they seemingly attempt to paint Speroni as the villain of the piece for being on the receiving end of an elbow to the chin, and having the apparent audacity to be a tad affronted that no form of apology has been forthcoming from Dawson.

Regardless of whether or not the elbow from Dawson was intentional; as you can see below, it was a challenge that could easily have had far more serious consequences for the ongoing career of Julian Speroni. Clearly, certain aspects of sportsmanship have taken a detour around The Hawthorns in recent days; it’s unfortunate, but there’s very little we can do now, other than to see if the club respond officially themselves, in what is becoming a truly unpleasant and easily avoidable war of words.

For rolling news and comment on everything happening at Crystal Palace FC, follow Hopkin Looking To Curl One… on twitter by clicking here.

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