Since Roy Hodgson first arrived at Crystal Palace, a great deal of the media’s focus has centred around the talents of Wilfried Zaha but during Thursday’s press conference, the former England gaffer devoted a large chunk of time to his French teammate Yohan Cabaye.
After seeing him bag the opening goal against Chelsea last weekend, (yes, I know it went down as an OG but I’m giving it to our boy) Hodgson was clearly keen to discuss just how much Yohan brings to the table in both an attacking and defensive sense.
When he first arrived from European heavyweights PSG, most Palace fans assumed we were getting a stereotypical number 10; the sort of player who would float freely between the lines and weigh in with assists and goals aplenty. In reality, the man who made a real name for himself at Newcastle a couple of years before has brought a great deal more versatility than first expected, often occupying a deep lying role in central midfield with aplomb.
Perhaps the most under appreciated side of Cabaye’s game is the combativeness he readily shows from week to week. Whilst he isn’t physically imposing in essence, what he lacks in size, he certainly makes up for in spirit; a trait that Hodgson has been quick to seize upon and value as a manager on the lookout for players who are willing to stand up and be counted in our battle to avoid the drop.
To many on the outside, the likes of Zaha, Sakho, Benteke and Townsend are the ones who make us tick but for my money, we perform at our best when the pairings or trios used in central midfield are on song, with Yohan almost always forming a key part of that puzzle. Against the champions last weekend, he, McArthur and Milivojevic were outstanding together, providing a solid platform upon which we could build. Clearly it was something that caught Hodgson’s eye given his fawning comments above.
Let’s just hope he get a repeat performance on Tyneside this afternoon.
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