Watching Crystal Palace’s 2-0 win over Bournemouth, there was but only one word that sprang to mind, which perfectly sums up a Roy Hodgson side: Disciplined. After they took the lead, then increased it to give them a cushion, old Roy must have been pleased as punch with the way his team performed their duties exactly in keeping with the way the gaffer likes to set up.
A Team Possessed
The whole team played completely on message; the defence staying organised, the midfield getting involved with defensive duties and even the attackers, led by Christian Benteke causing nothing but havoc and frustration withing the Bournemouth ranks in the first half. Bournemouth looked like a team shocked and in disarray, whilst their opponents looked unplayable in comparison, such was their dominance of the game.
In the second half, Bournemouth clearly came out with a bit more onus to their play, a bit more will to win, but even this didn’t phase this Palace side. They just carried on going through the motions, choking out any signs of a Bournemouth comeback, breaking away at speed and doing their level best to make sure no quick attack came back at them with superb success. It was as if it really were just a training ground game and that they’ve been drilled in doing only that for the last 3 months. To be fair, that’s not something I’d put past Mr. Hodgson genuinely doing.
Get Your Passports Ready?
Fans might not be able to travel right now due to Coronavirus, but this season’s performances so far might lead to a spike in passport renewals in South London, as that win has put Palace 4 points from 5th place, which at the time of writing is officially a Champions League place. That also means, that depending on who wins the FA Cup, 8th place might be enough to put The Eagles into European competition, which would only be deserved after how they’ve played so far.
Sure, I might be getting a bit ahead of myself, they still have to place above Tottenham, who might be less easy to stop now that they have their best players back from injury, but it is certainly enough to make the fans dream. Let us not forget, that Roy Hodgson has been in such a position before, when he qualified for the Europa League with Fulham, taking them on that fairytale journey to the final in Hamburg.
Could such a run be on the cards for this Palace side? Well, the build-up of the team is rather similar to that of the Fulham team; Gary Cahill a shorter version of Brede Hangelaand, Milivojevic like Danny Murphy with hair, Jordan Ayew and Wilfried Zaha are most-certainly the Simon Davies and Damien Duff of their day without a doubt.
It might not be as easy as it sounds though, Palace haven’t finished higher than 10th in the Premier League table since they finished 3rd under Steve Coppell in 1990-91, but this may very well be their year….