Crystal Palace lost 2-1 at home against rivals Brighton & Hove Albion last weekend, leaving boss Roy Hodgson to wonder whether or not “expectation” was the key factor in his players’ continued struggles in south London.
The Eagles went into the game on 33 points, knowing that a victory against the men from the south coast would give everyone at the club a real sense of breathing room for the final eight Premier League fixtures but after another poor outing in SE25, we are left, in the words of Roy himself, “looking over our shoulders”.
With four home games left to play, Palace have the second worst record of any team in the division when playing in front of their own supporters. 13 points from 15 games made up of three victories, four draws and eight defeats does not make for pleasant reading; not to mention the fact that we’ve scored a mere six goals st home from open play since the season began back in August.
Hodgson’s comments, linked in full at the top of this article, suggest that supporter expectation plays a big part in the minds of the club’s players, who “don’t play in a vacuum” but I personally struggle to see why vociferous vocal backing would be an issue. It’s not as though as expect the world at Selhurst Park, just a team who plays for spirit and verve when roared on by thousands of their own fans every other weekend; sadly, this has been a problem from the moment we were promoted to the Premier League back in 2013.
In that time, we’ve played 110 home league fixtures, winning just 36 of them, losing 54 and drawing 20. Whilst not expecting the world on a silver plate, I think those who spend their hard-earned cash on a season ticket each year have a right to feel a tad peeved at seeing their side struggle so badly for so long.
Perhaps it’s just an easily made excuse from Hodgson on what was a hugely disappointing day for everyone associated with the club but it stings a little to hear supporter expectation held up for such a prolonged spell of underachievement on our own patch. If this is the price we pay for having a hugely respected home atmosphere, you begin to wonder why we bother.