Monday, May 20, 2013

The Championship Play-Off Final - Big Willie Style!

There are only seven days until Crystal Palace Football Club take on Watford at Wembley in what is comfortably recognised as the the richest domestic football match in the world.

The npower Championship Play-off Final 2013 is a game reportedly worth somewhere in the region of £120m to the winners, and can literally change a club's standing in terms of structure and development overnight, but who will be the hero on the day?

Ultimately the whole playing squad, the management, the owners and the fans will all be winners should Palace reach the promise land, but often in Wembley finals, the hero on the pitch is someone rather unlikely!
Think Booby Stokes of Southampton, Alan Taylor of West Ham, Lee Martin of Manchester United, Wade Elliott of Burnley or Brett Ormerod of Blackpool.
Not necessarily players who set your pulses racing, but all of them have made significant and winning contributions in past Wembley finals.

Now Crystal Palace are a club that boasts a squad of young flair players, just think Zaha, Williams and Bolasie alongside some very experienced ones in Speroni, Phillips, Delaney, Jedinak, Gabbidon and Ramage.

However I think the key to success at Wembley lies with a player who has only stated five league games this season, having had to play second fiddle to the Championship's leading goalscorer Glenn Murray. However since a recent season ending knee injury to Murray, this player has been thrust into the role of  centre-forward, target man or lone striker (or whatever the correct modern day terminology is when you play with one out-and-out an out front man).

Step forward Aaron Thomas Wilbraham. The 33 year-old, 6ft 3" Cheshire born striker joined Palace from Norwich on a two year deal on 4th July 2012, after rejecting offers from several other clubs including Brighton and Bristol City.

The name Aaron is thought to descend from either ancient Egyptian origin meaning "Warrior Lion" or derived from various Hebrew roots meaning "Mountain of Strength."
Zaha & Wilbraham celebrate as Palace reach Wembley

In recent weeks Wilbraham has been given more game time and his performances have been reflected in that fact. He has taken on an almost no win role in trying to fill the boots of Palace hero Murray, but from what I have seen of his performances I have been impressed! He may not have grabbed the headlines but he was instrumental in our play-off semi final victory over Brighton and Hove Albion, a club now seemingly in freefall and reeling in the aftermath of that defeat!

He is by no means a goal scoring machine but he brings valuable experience to the team, and is particularly good at bringing other players into the game. He is a strong and mobile player and I think he holds the ball up adeptly, takes up good positions in and round the 18 yard box and has a decent touch in terms of ball control. In addition his work rate is good and as a result he is able to put pressure on opposition defences.

Wilbraham started his career in 1997 at Stockport County, where he made 118 league starts. He then had a spell at Hull City before joining MK Dons where he had a solid six years helping 'The Dons' to win the 2007–08 Football League Two title and in the following season under Roberto Di Matteo he was the clubs Players' Player of the Year, Player of the Year and was also was the clubs leading goalscorer.
On 1st January 2011 Norwich City under Paul Lambert signed the big man and he gained valuable Premier League experience in his 18 month spell with 'The Canaries.'

The season Norwich clinched promotion to the Premier League meant Wilbraham had won promotion from all three Lower Leagues: (League 2 to League 1 with MK Dons in 2007/08, League One to The Championship with Hull in 2004/05 and The Championship to the Premier League with Norwich in 2010/11)
Wilbraham became a member of an elite group of players who have scored at all 4 levels of English league football, namely for Norwich in The Championship and Premier League, the MK Dons and Stockport in League Two and the MK Dons in League One.

Now Aaron our "Warrior Lion and "Mountain of Strength" has the opportunity to step up and become a Crystal Palace hero with a match winning performance against 'Udinese Reserves' at Wembley in the Championship Play-Off Final in a week's time.

Can Palace do it on the 27th May 2013? Of course they can........and in style, with the help of Big Willie!

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Crystal Palace - The Facts and Stats for 2012/13

With just over 24 hours until Crystal Palace face Brighton in the 1st leg of the Championship play-off semi-final, I thought I would put together a list of statistics for the 2012/13 league season, ranging from the number of penalties awarded and scored to the the number of clean sheets kept, from the average number of goals scored and points won at home to the disciplinary records of the players.

The new CPFC crest2012/13 Championship season - Crystal Palace   

Final League Position: 5th

Total points: 72 (Champions: Cardiff 87pts, Runners-up: Hull City 79pts)

Overall analysis: Played 46 Won 19 Drew 15 Lost 12 Goals scored 73 Goals conceded 62

Home form analysis: Played 23 Won 13 Drew 8 Lost 2 Goals scored 52 Goals conceded 31
(65.3% of Palace's total league points were won at home).

Away form analysis: Played 23 Won 6 Drew 7 Lost 10 Goals scored 21 Goals conceded 31
(34.7% of Palace's total league points were won away from home).

Most league appearances: Julian Speroni (46), Wilf Zaha (43), Glenn Murray (42), Damien Delaney (41 + 1 as sub), Mile Jedinak (41), Peter Ramage (40 + 1 as sub)

A total of 30 different players were used by Crystal Palace during the 2012/13 league season.

Top Palace goalscorer: Glenn Murray (30). Murray was the top goalscorer in the Championship.
Of Murray's 30 goals, 24 were scored at home and 6 away. 8 of his 30 goals were scored from the penalty spot.

12 other Palace players also scored at least one goal for the club this season.

Total club goals scored this season: 73

Club goals scored at home: 52 (71.2% of Palace's league total for the season)
52 goals was the highest number of goals scored at home by any team in the league.

Club goals scored away: 21 (28.8% of Palace's league total for the season).

Total club goals conceded: 62

Club goals conceded at home: 31 (50% of Palace's league total conceded for the season).

Club goals conceded away: 31 (50% of Palace's league total conceded for the season).

Of the 73 goals Palace scored in the 2012/13 league season 37% were scored in the 1st half of matches and 63% in the 2nd half.

Of the 62 goals Palace conceded in the 2012/13 league season 41.9% were scored in the 1st half of matches and 58.1% in the 2nd half.

Goal times in 15 min segments:

Palace jointly scored most goals (16 goals) in the 15 min period between the 46th and 60th min and also (16) in the 15 min period between 61st and 75th min.

Palace conceded most goals (18 goals) in the 15 min period between the 76th and 90th min (inc. added time).

Palace opened the scoring in 24 of their 46 games this season (52.2%).
Palace conceded the opening goal in 18 of their 46 games this season (39.1%).

Hit-man Murray scores again!
In the other 4 games no goals were scored by either side.

Average number of goals: 

Average number of goals scored at home: 2.26 per game.

Average number of goals conceded at home: 1.35 per game.

Average number of goals scored away from home: 0.91 per game.

Average number of goals conceded away from home: 1.35 per game.

More than 2.5 goals per game:

In Palace's 46 league games, on 30 occasions (65.2%) they were involved in matches that produced 3 goals or more.
The league average was 52%.
Failed to score: 

In Palace's 46 league games they failed to score in 11 (23.9%), with five of those blanks coming in a run of consecutive matches between 17th March and 16th April 2013.

Palace scored at least one goal in every one of their opening 18 games, from 18th August to 24th November 2012, before they were held to a goalless draw at Hull on 27th November 2012.


Number of penalties Palace were awarded/scored: 15/12

Of those 15 penalties 13 were awarded to Palace at Selhurst Park. The penalties that were awarded to Palace away from home were at Middlesbrough and at Bolton, (both were scored). Murray missed 3 pens this season versus Blackburn, Ipswich and Hull. The other penalty scorers this season were Garvan (2) against Watford and Brighton, Easter at Middlesboro' and Phillips versus Hull.

Number of penalties Palace conceded/scored: 4/2

Palace conceded penalties away at Bristol City, at home to Millwall (both were scored), and at home to Huddersfield and away at Derby (both were missed).

Clean Sheets:

In Palace's 46 league games they kept 11 (23.9%) clean sheets.

Margin of victory/defeat:

Biggest league win of the season: 5-0 versus Ipswich at Selhurst Park on 6th November 2012.

Biggest league defeat of the season: 4-0 versus Birmingham at Selhurst Park on 29th March 2013.

Most goals in a league game this season: (7) Palace 4-3 Burnley on 6th October 2012.


Biggest home crowd of the season: 22,154 versus Peterborough on 4th May 2013.

Lowest home crowd of the season: 13,153 versus Nottingham Forest on 18th September 2012.

The total number of fans to visit Selhurst Park during the 2012/13 season was 397,450.

The average attendance at Selhurst Park for the 2012/13 season was 17,280. (That is 65.6% of the grounds official capacity)
This was the 13th highest of the 24 clubs in the division.

Cup competitions 2012/13:

FA Cup: Lost 4-1 versus Stoke in a 3rd round replay at The Britannia Stadium on 15th January 2013.

League Cup: Lost 4-1 versus Preston North End in the 2nd round at Deepdale on the 28th August 2012.

Naughty Boys:    

Damien Delaney - 9 yellow cards and 1 red card, Dean Moxey - 6 yellow cards and 1 red card, Mile Jedinak - 10 yellow cards, Glenn Murray - 9 yellow cards, Wilfried Zaha - 8 yellow cards, Kagisho Dikgacoi 8 yellow cards.

(Jedinak also received 2 yellow cards in cup games and Zaha 1 yellow card in a cup game).

Player of the Year: Mile Jedinak.

Young Player of the Year: Jonathan Williams.

Academy Player of the Year: Hiram Boateng.

Palace Goal of the Year: Glenn Murray v Middlesbrough on 16th February 2013.

Upcoming fixtures:

Friday 10th May 2013: Championship play-off semi-final 1st leg: Crystal Palace v Brighton at Selhurst Park (7:45pm ko).
Monday 13th May 2013: Championship play-off semi-final 2nd leg: Brighton v Crystal Palace at The AMEX (7:45pm ko).

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Babe Of The Month - Amber Russell - Hot US Music Artist

Amber Russell was born and raised in Florida, United States. From an early age Amber pursued her lifelong dream to be an entertainer. When she was the age of 14, Amber auditioned for and became a member of a girl pop group called 'Girl Zone' out of Orlando, Florida. With 'Girl Zone' she recorded an album titled 'Never One Thing' and performed in over 50 shows throughout central Florida.

As the girls in the group grew older and made plans for college the group disbanded. Amber, however, kept singing and training her voice with her vocal coach Barbara Browning. She is currently working on her first solo project with her production team Thunda Tracks.

Amber is also a fan of British football, and is as overseas supporter of Crystal Palace Football Club.

Pop artist Amber Russell's performance of "Bad Girl" at South Broward Artist Showcase in Fort Lauderdale, Florida last Saturday.

Photo by amberrussell89
Sexy American pop artist Amber Russell chilling out!

You can follow Amber Russell on Twitter and Facebook.
Amber is also on Instagram.

You can listen to Amber's music on Soundcloud and on her YouTube page.