Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Eagles not dead and buried yet

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When Crystal Palace appointed Roy Hodgson as their new boss in September, I like many was not sure what to make of the appointment. The 70-year-old’s last job in football was as the England boss who was defeated by minnows Iceland at Euro 2016.

The veteran boss had no real choice but to walk away from the role. The defeat was just too embarrassing to stay. To see him back in the game at a struggling club just over a year later was a surprise.

Palace not bottom anymore

The Eagles were rock bottom when Hodgson arrived. The situation has not improved greatly since his appointment, but they are now 18th place in the table and just three points away from safety.

This looked like an unlikely scenario when he took over, as confidence looked to be at rock bottom prior to his appointment. Hodgson has helped to lift confidence among his squad and a four-game unbeaten run in the league has lifted everybody connected with the club.

The fact that the Eagles have managed goalless draws at Brighton and West Brom shows that they are far better organised defensively than at the start of the campaign. They are still struggling to score goals, though.

However, solid defensive displays are a good start for a team that wants to move out of the relegation zone.

Attacking players now need to show up

Many Premier League teams would be delighted to have Palace winger Wilfried Zaha and striker Christian Benteke in their team. However, the pair’s campaign has been hampered by injury problems.

They are not at their best at the minute, which is illustrated by the fact that the Eagles have now failed to score in ten Premier League games on their travels dating back to last season.

Now the Eagles seem to have a solid defensive foundation, the London club needs their undoubtedly talented attacking players to produce the goods in front of goal.

Last season the pair played a crucial role in the Eagles survival. Both Zaha and Benteke have the ability to be match-winners. However, both need to get back to their top form to help the team out and away from the relegation zone.

Benteke is a reported January transfer target for reigning Premier League champions Chelsea. The Eagles are unlikely to be willing to part with the Belgian star, who is their most likely source of goals.

Zaha has shown some signs of form since returning from injury. However, he is definitely not back to his best.

Can still stay up this season

Palace are not the worse team I have seen play in the Premier League. There is certainly still hope that they can escape the drop this season. The bookmakers think so as they are now odds of 7/4 to suffer relegation from the top-flight, which makes them fourth favourites for the drop.

Roy Hodgson is a vastly experienced boss and has been in this sort of situation with the likes of Fulham and West Brom. His arrival the club seems to have had a positive effect on the team.

Slowly but surely Palace are in improving. They just need the likes of Zaha, Benteke and Andros Townsend to find their scoring boots and they will survive quite comfortably.

I am sure Palace fans are a bit more convinced by the appointment of Hodgson now, even they are still in the bottom three. I have a feeling they will not be in the relegation zone come what may.

Can Crystal Palace escape the relegation zone?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The 33-year-old has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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