Shout it out loudly. Palace are heading to the FA Cup Final. Here are five things Rob and Jim wanted to shout about after the Palace win over Watford.
1. Jedibaye Worked Wonders
Firstly, a note about Mile Jedinak. We've written him off this season, a few too many times, and in a fickle showing of backtracking, I and many others will probably need to admit guilt and apologise. This was a resoundingly strong performance from a captain who has overseen promotions, Premier League safety and now a run to the FA Cup Final.
Secondly, if anyone ever needed an example of just what Yohan Cabaye has brought to the side since his arrival at Crystal Palace, this was it. Tenacious, unnerved and vivacious, Cabaye pulled the strings of a midfield that purred with inventiveness and energy.
Many Palace fans couldn't see a defensive midfield of Cabaye and Jedinak working. But it did, oh so well. While we all thought we'd signed Cabaye to play an attacking role, the Frenchman has instead made himself an essential midfield anchor - a player capable of putting tackles in and placing delightful passes with a simplicity that makes it look like the easiest task on earth.
Alongside Jedinak, who won countless headers and put his body in the way of shots like his life depended on it, there was a resilience that made Watford's task all the more difficult. In a bustling midfield environment, the two of them left their mark with gracious performances that stopped Ben Watson and Etienne Capoue from playing.
This is what we signed Cabaye for. This is also why, when it comes to the crunch, there is no better player than Mile Jedinak to line up next to him.
2. When Puncheon plays, we play
It's no surprise that Palace have seen an upturn in form since the return of Jason Puncheon to the side. Considered by Alan Pardew to be management material, the playmaker brings a level of organisation, leadership and accountability to a side that, for that awful run, struggled to find its groove.
For all the talk of him not contributing enough earlier in the season, his ability to keep the ball and to keep things moving is far too easily overlooked. This is a player who loves taking possession of the ball, loves keeping it and loves creating opportunities for others.
Puncheon's return has come just at the right time for the club. He's a leader, and in that attacking third, that's something we lacked a little.
3. Wing-play won it
We've seen it said before, that neither Yannick Bolasie or Wilfried Zaha don't create or take chances enough. It's a negative perspective on two players that absolutely shape how we play.
Their ability to take the ball, run with it, keep it, and put opposition players under pressure shouldn't be overlooked. Whether they score or not, both players worked the flanks brilliantly and, in doing so, gave the defence and midfield opportunities to take a breather at times when it was needed most.
Bolasie's goal, which was a wonderfully-worked effort, was no more than he deserved, while Zaha came ever so close to scoring what would have been one of the greatest FA Cup goals ever.
A Palace side with powerful wing players is all we ever really ask for. And in Bolasie and Wilf, we have that.
4. Palace are suited for the cup
When Alan Pardew came in as manager the first thing he said was that the team would try and win every game. This “maverick” approach was probably going to lose the team points in some games but that was how he was going to do it. And to be fair to him, he’s stuck to it. Even when Palace couldn’t win for love nor money from January to April.
But it’s meant that the Eagles are perfectly set up for cup matches; and that’s been proven with five fantastic wins en route to the FA Cup final; wins against established Premier League sides like Southampton, Stoke and Tottenham.
There’s something about the way Pardew sets his teams up that just suits cup matches. The win or die attitude, the fast pace counter attacking, the not-that-fussed-about-
5. Our fans are brilliant
This one isn’t so much a ‘what we learned’ as ‘what was confirmed that we already knew’; Palace fans were just fantastic again. Just like 2013 they out-sung, out-danced, out-ballooned and generally out-brillianted the Watford fans. Just like three years ago it seemed the Hornets players and fans were overcome by the occasion; Palace however thrived on it. We live for days like this and we’re just so bloody good at them; on and off the pitch.
A quick look at Palace fans on Twitter or Facebook confirmed just how well we owned Wembley; a wash with red and blue, smiling faces, famous faces and just everyone having a good time. Look at some of the ex-CPFC players who sat in with the fans; Andy Johnson, Neil Shipperley, Eddie McGoldrick and even George Boyd - who never played for Palace but is an Eagles fans - all wanting to share the occasion.
After the game was the PFA awards for the season; If there was an award for Fans of the Year Palace would get it hands down every season.