Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has sent a message to both the fans and his boardroom about what his side must do if they are to dream of European football.
Following the Eagles’ impressive 2-1 win over West Ham at the London Stadium on Saturday, the manager was open in saying what needs to be done to even get close.
The manager said (via Evening Standard): “Most people will tell you that they are expecting the clubs with the vast amounts to spend on quality players to assert themselves over 38 games.
“If we are going to get close, we are going to have to make certain that we are not reliant on so few forwards and full-backs. That is something we will have to address in the January transfer window.”
With so many of the top sides faltering this early in the season, there looks like there could be room for one of the lesser sides in the Premier League to nick a space in the European spots, with sixth-place Crystal Palace currently occupying one.
However, with Palace’s squad being incredibly thin, you can see exactly what Roy Hodgson is getting at. If Palace are to sneak into Europe, then reinforcements are needed. Big time.
At the current moment, Palace have an argument to have one of the most imbalanced squads in the entire division. When looking on Transfermarkt at Palace’s squad of 24 players, 13 of them either play at centre back or centre midfield (including Jeff Schlupp, who has been used in the middle of the park by Roy Hodgson over the past few seasons). However, when you look at options at full-back positions, there is only one player who is deemed a left-back in Patrick van Aanholt and only one player deemed a right-back in Joel Ward.
In the attacking positions, you don’t need Transfermarkt to see there is a bit of a crisis. £27m signing Christian Benteke is out of favour, not being trusted by Roy Hodgson to start a game since the second game of the season away at Sheffield United. Elsewhere, the club have Connor Wickham, who has struggled for a sustained period of football since his cruciate ligament rupture in the 2016/17 season. He has played two games in the league this season, getting 15 minutes in total in two sub appearances, according to Transfermarkt.
Jordan Ayew has been the first choice for the majority of the campaign, impressing massively, scoring three goals for the campaign. However, there is no doubt Palace would be liking more options in that position, as Hodgson said.
Even with Palace’s impressive early form, it’s so hard to see them getting into Europe due to their lack of firepower upfront and the lack of goals they have scored.
So far in the league, they have only scored eight goals from their eight matches. And while they have only conceded eight, they will need to improve that if they are serious about getting near Europe.
It’s a wise game from Hodgson, who by saying this is clearly telling the boardroom that they need reinforcements to keep improving.
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