Having not won since mid-January, Roy Hodgson was as pleased as anyone to his Crystal Palace side secure a 2-0 victory over Huddersfield on Saturday afternoon and now, he’s challenged his players to embark upon an unbeaten run similar to the one they managed when first escaping the drop zone at the turn of the year.
After arriving in September with the task of turning around a side without a Premier League point or goal to their names in the 2017/18 campaign, the former England gaffer oversaw heavy defeats to Manchrester City and Manchester United before things began to look up.
Of course, fans and neutrals alike will point towards the reintroduction of Wilfried Zaha to the first-team set-up as the biggest catalyst in Palace’s season-changing 2-1 win at home against Chelsea in October but in truth, the results which followed just after hinted at the deep-rooted issues the 70-year-old inherited in SE25.
Tight defeats against Newcastle and Tottenham either side of a hammering from Bristol City in the League Cup had us all fearing the worst but in truth, the man Zaha’s impact when levelling the scores with seconds left at home to West Ham gave us all hope of escaping the drop zone after a horror start. So dramatic was our change in fortune that we went on a run of just two league defeats (Tottenham (A) & Arsenal (H)) in 14 games between 20th October 2017 and 19th January 2018, proving that, although Zaha was unquestionably a key man for us, Roy had been working his magic on the training ground too.
Now, with seven games left to navigate between now and the end of the season, the experienced campaigner is calling on his troops to replicate that run in mini-form and jump well clear of danger before the final day. Our display against Huddersfield was full of spirit, endeavor and tactical discipline, if we can find a way to repeat that regularly between now and May, Roy’s plan should come together perfectly.
There’s no one I’d rather have in charge.