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Roy Hodgson is proving doubters wrong

Tuesday 19th December 2017

Roy Hodgson has led Crystal Palace to a seven-game winning streak. Sit back and absorb that for a moment. Hallowe'en is seven weeks gone. Palace were then bottom of the table.

Roy Hodgson had taken charge in September. In four league games under Frank de Boer, the Eagles hadn't scored. To begin, Hodgson struggled. It took another four matches after his arrival for the side to put one past a goalkeeper. When they did, they managed it twice. Against defending champion Chelsea. 

Since that result, the ex-England manager has worked wonders with the Eagles. Palace have lost just twice in ten matches. Hodgson's side are 14th, two points clear Newcastle and the relegation places.

One player who has stepped up is Wilfried Zaha. The Ivorian winger-turned-striker has four goals to his name this campaign. After failing to score a goal for a Premier League record spell, the Eagles have netted seven in their last three. Morale is on the upswing.

Other players who have managed to get on the scoreboard include Bakary Sako, Luka Milivojevic and James McArthur. Each has two goals. Scott Dann, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mamadou Sakho have all contributed one.

A name missing from the list until Palace's last match, against Leicester, was Christian Benteke. The Belgian finally chipped in with a strong header and an assist.

Palace is in good form. Hodgson will be aiming to keep it that way. Somehow, he has coped with losing Joel Ward, Mamadou Sakho, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, and Damien Delaney at the back. Their replacements have filled in ably.

Playing in an old-fashioned 4-4-2 formation, life has become enjoyable. A 2-1 win at home against Watford, then another, 3-0 away at the King Power, has produced positive vibes. The feelings have rubbed off on Palace fans.

Upcoming games include Swansea at home and Arsenal away. Then they host league leaders Man City at home on New Year's Eve. Hodgson will want to see a better performance than the one that led to five City goals at the Etihad. 

The holiday fixtures offer teams an opportunity to bank points quickly. Palace's path won't be easy, but every point will be vital with so many teams crammed together in the table's bottom half. 

Swansea continued its misery with a 3-1 loss to Everton on Monday night. The Welsh side is currently bottom. Paul Clement's job is in peril with his team four points inside the relegation zone. Swans visit to Selhurst Park represents Palace's best opportunity to put distance between itself and danger.

Palace was a team in dire need at the start of this campaign. One man came in and reminded them what they can do. Hodgson has demonstrated patience and perseverance. It has paid off. So far.

Consistent performances are becoming the norm. The septuagenarian boss is relishing the competition, and the results. Roy Hodgson has positively impacted Crystal Palace's season, but there is still a long way to go. The coming fortnight could predict the club's direction in 2018.

Jamie Kynaston

For my sins, I'm a season ticket holder at Stoke City, I have been proud to watch them for over 20 years. I follow most of the UK leagues and the major European ones too, and I've been told that I talk way too much about football.


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