Crystal Palace currently represent something of a club in crisis. Although the impending threat of relegation feels some way off for the Eagles right in the here and now, it remains to be seen whether or not the determined South Londoners really have what it takes to maintain their Premier League status for yet another season of successful top-flight football.
With Frank de Boer already forced to pack his bags and leave Selhurst Park just four games into his ill-fated position as Crystal Palace manager, the task now falls upon former Three Lions boss, Roy Hodgson, to firmly turn things around for his newfound club. His aim is to see his latest team rise above those unwanted relegation spots with a possible top-ten finish in mind.
Whether or not the former Fulham, Liverpool, West Brom and England manager is really up to such a difficult task however, remains an outcome that resides well and truly in the balance…
Crystal Palace don't deserve to be relegated because they sacked De Boer. They deserve it because they appointed Hodgson.
— Udit (@uditCFC) September 21, 2017
Crystal Palace have been lacking a clear cutting edge throughout most of the 2017/18 campaign thus far. Whilst the Eagles have admittedly shown glimpses of promise in front of goal across certain portions of the current season, no goals in five Premier League outings tells you all you really need to know about the team’s distinct lack of attacking prowess so far this term.
Christian Benteke is yet to find his strongest form whilst wearing the Palace shirt, Wilfried Zaha’s ongoing injury worries remain far from satisfactory for the Selhurst Park faithful – whilst each of Connor Wickham and Bakary Sako clearly fail to represent much attacking intent for the Eagles in the cold light of day.
If Crystal Palace are to stand any meaningful chance of top-flight survival this season, Hodgson will have to do something to aid his new team’s ongoing attacking woes.
Roy Hodgson furious after Crystal Palace win against Huddersfield pic.twitter.com/i11Glij31P
— Darren Farley (@DFImpressionist) September 20, 2017
Yet Hodgson will seemingly have to achieve far more than that if he is to eventually solidify himself as something of a positive addition down at Selhurst Park this season. The Eagles have not been entirely shocking from a defensive point of view – but at the same time, certain changes need to be made among the current Palace back-line in order to progress the club forward in the not too distant future.
With former Liverpool defender and France international – Mamadou Sakho – waiting in the wings to make his highly anticipated return to first team football for Palace, perhaps some greater fortunes will actually await the plucky South Londoners sooner rather than later.
Palace boss Hodgson has been handed a big boost with Sakho set for league action for the first time this season against Man City on Saturday
— football news (@football_gene) September 21, 2017
But even though Crystal Palace are not exactly destined for failure with Roy Hodgson at the helm this term, was the decision to sack Frank de Boer just four games into his first Premier League season really a wise and justified one?
In Frank de Boer, Palace had a relatively young manager on their hands, one with a fresh new outlook on how the beautiful game ought to be played. He may have failed to implement himself whilst warming the touchline down at the San Siro for Inter Milan, but that didn’t necessarily mean the well-versed Dutchman couldn’t eventually work his magic for Palace all in good time.
Hodgson’s recent appointment therefore arrives with an air of panic and desperation about it. He cannot be seen as a long term solution for the Eagles, meaning Palace have theoretically condemned themselves to another stop-gap season where very little progress will seemingly take place throughout the entire league campaign. Surviving relegation is arguably all the Crystal Palace fans have to look forward to under Roy Hodgson this term.
Here's Roy Hodgson enjoying a few rays before he takes over at Palace pic.twitter.com/eWYMzcLr35
— Giles Paley-Phillips (@eliistender10) September 11, 2017
De Boer was a put in place for the future, whilst Hodgson certainly wasn’t. He may indeed serve to save Crystal Palace from the drop in 2017/18 – but once the season finally reaches its natural conclusion and all the dust has settled around the banks of Selhurst Park – the Eagles will once again find themselves in the exact same position as last summer.
Wanting to carve out a progressive and dynamic future for themselves in the campaigns yet to come, but with all due respect to those currently working behind the scenes at Selhurst Park – not entirely sure of just how best to get there…