A 2-1 home defeat to rivals Brighton & Hove Albion angered many Crystal Palace fans. It meant Brighton had done the double over Palace this season; the first time since the 1983/84 season. However, the defeat signalled several problems for the Eagles. Problems that may slowly begin to mount.
Crystal Palace’s Problems Slowly Beginning to Mount
One of the biggest problems currently facing Roy Hodgson and Crystal Palace is their dismal home record. They have just three wins at home all season. Their home form ranks 19th in the league, only above Huddersfield Town. Since their return to the Premier League in 2013, the Eagles have won just 36 of their 110 games at Selhurst Park. Once labelled a fortress, it is now anything but.
Palace face this problem due to their counter-attacking style being better suited for away games. They have scored nine goals in their last three away games, conceding just twice. The pace of Wilfried Zaha, Andros Townsend and Michy Batshuayi gives Palace the chance to play counter-attacking football. This pace is further supported by fullbacks Patrick van Aanholt and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Scoring at home has also become a problem for Palace. They have scored just 11 goals at home all season. In contrast, they have scored 25 goals away from home. It is lucky that their defence has proven solid as otherwise, they would be in deep trouble.
Lack of a Goalscorer Up-front
This problem became apparent last season. Christian Benteke form from the 2016/17 season did not continue as he netted just three times. It meant Palace were reliant on goals from Wilfried Zaha and Luka Milivojevic to survive relegation.
It is a similar story this season, as Zaha and Milivojevic top the scoring chart. They have been supported by Andros Townsend and Jeffrey Schlupp, who have seven and five goals retrospectively. However, Palace strikers have faced a tough time in front of goal once again this season. Loanees Jordan Ayew and Michy Batshuayi are the top scoring strikers with two goals apiece.
Roy Hodgson has faced criticism throughout this season on his tactical decision. He is often very stubborn, opting for his favoured players and formations.
The most prominent issue is the timing of substitutions. Hodgson often leaves his substitutions till late in the match, often with 20 minutes left. At this point of the game, the substitutes often have little impact. Furthermore, it is often his choice of substitutes that are strange. In their recent defeat to Manchester United, he made the like-for-like substitution of Christian Benteke for Michy Batshuayi. When chasing the game, surely it seems obvious to go more attacking?
Another issue surrounds German Max Meyer. He was the glamour signing of last summer, having once been labelled as a ‘wunderkind’. However, he has failed to live up to expectations and has just the one goal and two assists. This is partly due to how many games he starts. Meyer has started just 11 of his 23 games in the Premier League for Palace. He was expected to be a regular starter.
Problems Further Down The Line
There may also be further problems down the line for the Eagles. Clarity over ownership may be a future problem. Recent reports suggest that American co-owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer may be looking to sell their share in the club. They own a large stake in the club along with Chairman Steve Parish.
Further problems included the likelihood of key players departing. Both Wilfried Zaha and Aaron Wan-Bisska are seen as valuable assets and both could command large transfer fees. Mamadou Sakho is another player who is likely to receive interest. The Frenchman had been in fantastic form before his recent injury.
It may not just be players departing Selhurst Park. Roy Hodgson is the oldest manager in the Premier League and may call it a day in the summer. The hierarchy at Crystal Palace may be thinking about possible replacements.
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