Wilfried Zaha didn’t have his most enjoyable afternoon of the season against Arsenal at The Emirates Stadium on Saturday, watching on in frustration as Palace’s defenders shipped four goals in the opening 25 minutes of the contest before showing his aggravation with the referee later in the game after not being awarded a free-kick when he felt he’d been fouled.
As is often the case, the sight of the winger remonstrating with the match officials provoked jeers from the Arsenal faithful, prompting Eagles boss Roy Hodgson to have a careful word with the club’s talisman on the side of the pitch, just as you would expect of a man with his level of experience.
Predictably, Roy was asked about the incident in his post-match press conference, where he quite rightly informed the journalist that conversations which take place between he and his players are private and will remain so as a matter of principle.
Whilst the manner in which we played during the opening quarter of Saturday’s contest was quite simply unacceptable, the turnaround after the interval, coupled with comments like those referenced above, highlight exactly why I and so many other Palace fans are falling head over heels for Roy Hodgson.
Aside from the fact that we have now suffered just two defeats in our last 14 Premier League fixtures, (coincidentally both at the hands of Arsenal) the grit and determination that was evident in the team’s second half display only serves to emphasise the difference in mood that the gaffer has brought about since he first arrived in September.
Having had rocky spells with the likes of Pulis, Pardew and Allardyce in charge over the last few years, we now seem to have a man at the helm who is desperate to fulfill his role as Palace boss with dignity and decorum in equal measure; a fact demonstrate perfectly by his response to Wilf losing his rag on the Emirates pitch on Saturday afternoon.
It may be a “nothing” gesture to many but for me, Roy’s response to the whole thing was exactly what I want to see from the man in charge of our football club.