Palace fans everywhere were a tad pessimistic when Roy Hodgson was announced as the new Eagles boss but in recent weeks, he’s begun to win them over in their thousands and now central defender Mamadou Sakho has added his voice to those trumpeting the new boss as the reason for our upturn in form.
Tuesday night’s clash against Brighton & Hove Albion at The Amex Stadium saw Hodgson’s men pick up their first clean-sheet of the season with Sakho and James Tomkins at the heart of our defence, giving everyone hope of building up further momentum when we visit The Hawthorns this afternoon.
Whilst we have now started to score goals regularly at home, (twice in four consecutive games at Selhurst to be precise) Roy and the players are still awaiting their first Premier League away goal of the 2017-18 campaign, with fans having to go all the way back to April to remember what it felt like to see the ball hit the back of the opposition’s net when following us on the road.
With the Baggies having really struggled for form under Tony Pulis before relieving him of duties a short time ago, there will be hope amoungst the Palace players of us breaking that away-day hoodoo when the whistle sounds this afternoon. Whether it arrives through fit-again striker Christian Benteke, the pace and attacking drive of Zaha or off the backside of Joel Ward after a goal-mouth scramble, no one of a red and blue persuasion is likely to care a jot.
The sense of organisation and tactical understanding brought to the club by Roy and his coaching staff has been noted by thousands of Palace fans in recent weeks and it’s clearly a change that’s being felt by the players on the training ground too. Having looked dead and buried when the former England boss first arrived, we now find ourselves just six points away from Newcastle in 12th.
A victory today would provide the most almighty of boosts to our confidence as a squad, not that Mamadou Sakho appears to be in any need of extra motivation for the fight that lies ahead.