In a new series shamelessly stolen from Deadspin great Drew Magary, Cartilage Free Captain will preview each opponent before we face them and explain to you exactly why they're complete crap and doomed for the drop.
If you're a Crystal Palace fan, that's too bad. Your team sucks and you're going to get relegated.
Your Club Sucks: Your team's name sounds like a whore house. And not like a cool sexy bordello where nubile young women are desperate to fulfill your every depraved whim. Crystal Palace sounds like the desperate attempt to inject a faux sense of class into a seedy massage parlor where haggard middle-aged women give depressing handjobs for a tenner to an even more depressing clientele.
And it's even sadder because you don't even play at the Crystal Palace anymore. Even the trophyless nomads had the good sense to change their names once they wandered out of Woolwich. If you can't come up with a good one, just rip off somebody else's, like you've done with every other piece of your "history". You
ripped off "borrowed" Aston Villa's kits for a while, then you ripped off Madrid's white before finally settling on bastardizing Barcelona. And then you stole your nickname "The Eagles" from Benfica, because "Football Parasites" just didn't have the same ring to it.
And your playing history isn't any more impressive. You've been relegated in your first season in the Premier League every. single. time.
Your Owner Sucks: Oh wait, what owner? You mean the fan club that sits in the owner's box? White knight Steve Parish led the consortium of four lifelong Palace fans that saved your club from administration in 2010. And while that makes for an adorable made-for-tv movie, it is not going to translate to Premiership success.
Money-man Jeremy Hosking's entire "fortune" couldn't even pay for Joe Lewis's yacht. But he does have an adorable collection of steam locomotives, which is a perfectly normal way for a grown man to behave.
Ultimately you just don't have anywhere near the finances to compete at this level. Your team is held together with wishes and candyfloss and all the happy thoughts in the world aren't going to keep you in Never Never Land.
Your Last Season Sucked: Congratulations on fluking your way through the playoff system at the expense of better teams! Your reckless display of attacking extravagance may have seen you to a heady fifth place finish in the Championship, but playing against real defenders and attackers capable of slicing through your supposed back four on a whim is going to be a much tougher prospect.
Your Coach Sucks: Ian Holloway, the human sound byte masquerading as your football manager, spends more time thinking up bluff witticisms to feed the press than he does teaching his squad how to play football. Holloway has built a reputation on amusing one-liners that paper of over his complete inability to run a football team.
The last time he was in the Premier League, his side was constructed around Charlie Adam. And then it got relegated. Because of course it did.
Your Players Suck: Last year your success was built on the back of 30 goals from Glenn Murray, the new Grant Holt/Rickie Lambert who will now miss at least half the upcoming season after having misplaced the ligaments in his knee. The fledgling talents of dynamic young try-hard Wilfried Zaha have also gone missing after he decided to hilariously attempt to punch above his weight at Manchester United.
So who's left? Ex-Newcastle defender Peter Ramage will attempt to anchor the the back line while 19 year old Welsh attacker Jon Williams will flit up and down the pitch pretending to be Gareth Bale. Argentine goalkeeper and fans' three-time player of the year Julian Speroni will presumably set a record for number of times valiantly picking the ball out of the back of the net.
When the best player you have left in a team built around relentless attack is defensive midfielder Mile Jedinak, your gameplan probably isn't going to go quite as Holloway imagined it. But I'm sure he'll have a hilarious zinger for his post match interview.
Your New Signings Suck: So you've lost your best players, and instead of trying to replace them with actual footballers, you thought you'd have a laugh on your way back down to the Championship. 97 year old Kevin Phillips, League One striker Dwight Gayle, and grease-headed "striker" Marouane Chamakh have all come in to fill the goalscoring void with a three-ring circus. So.... good luck with that?
And 20 year-old England International Zaha surely won't be missed now that you've brought in the extensive Premier League experience of Jerome Thomas. At least he's experienced in getting relegated, having gone down with Charlton and later being released from relegation-bound Portsmouth for not being good at football. He's sure to come in handy around March when your fate is already sealed.
Somehow you have managed to find one bright spot in the two-time U-19 UEFA Championship winning Spanish midfielder Jose Campana, on whose 20 year-old shoulders rests basically your entire season. Now that you've miraculously convinced him to join your sinking ship, you can probably release his family from captivity.
Why you might escape the drop: Because dreams do come true! But not for you. Sorry, Crystal Palace.