Opinion: There are underlying issues at Crystal Palace that remain noticeable
(GettyImages - Richard Heathcote)

Crystal Palace have had a strange month down in South London with the new year bringing forward a few issues at the club.

Their Premier League form has picked up with a win against Sheffield United and a draw against Leicester City - before a thrashing at the hands of a rampant Manchester City.

The new signing, Jean-Philippe Mateta, has also made the Palace camp a lot happier, with his keen eye for a goal set to bolster Hodgson's attacking options. However, there are still problems that threaten to ingulf the club.

Crystal Palace VAVEL take a look at where things have gone wrong for Palace, and how they can impact the squad for the rest of the season.

  • Batshuayi and Milivojevic training bust-up

Palace pair, Michy Batshuayi and Luka Milivojevic, had to be pulled apart from each other at the Crystal Palace training ground in Beckenham, ahead of the 0-0 draw against Arsenal.

Tempers flaring could not have done any good for the pair - with Milivojevic allegedly breaking COVID-19 guidelines by attending a New Year's Eve party - and Batshuayi having failed to impress on the pitch since his arrival in the summer.

Milivojevic may have managed to get himself back into the first-team, but Batshuayi is still struggling, with there being a high chance that he could be left out the team with Mateta likely to take his place.

This incident was also around the time when morale wasn't the best before the new year and certain results were not going their way; manifested by lacklustre defeats to Burnley and Newcastle United.

  • Meyer leaving Palace by mutual consent

This was a decision that left some Palace fans confused, some relieved because of the amount of money that Max Meyer was earning, and some disheartened by the parting of ways. 

The German made 56 appearances and his departure left a handful of fans wondering if Roy Hodgson gave the former Schalke man a real chance, or utilised him in the right way.

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The creative midfielder certainly had talent, alas if Eberechi Eze was to get injured, then there is now very little backup to replace him. There were games against Brighton & Hove Albion, Burnley and Newcastle, where Meyer could have played behind the striker and created chances for the forwards.

Eze tends to play on the wing, so that position was Meyer's for the taking - there is now little cover for that spot.

  • Contract conundrum

There are 14 players who will be out of a contract at Palace at the end of the 2020/21 season.

Hodgson seems to be happy with the squad he has at the moment but there are a few players that he should consider keeping - Christian Benteke, Andros Townsend, Nathaniel Clyne and Joel Ward to name a few.

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Significant departures at the club seem likely, even though the end of the season is a few months away. The managerial staff are also yet to extend their contracts beyond the end of the season, which instantly creates an atmosphere of anxiety at Selhurst Park.

Hodgson has a lot of work to do for the remainder of the season and he will need to work fast to avoid a contract situation like Burnley's back in the summer.

  • Style of play

Hodgson has made Palace more attacking than they were last season with the acquisitions of Eze and new signing, Mateta. The Eagles failed to score as many as three goals in any Premier League game last season and that needed addressing.

However, it has seemed to sacrifice our defensive shape, and placed an emphasis on gambling on the counter-attack. Palace have added younger faces to the squad - Eze (22), Nathan Ferguson (20), Tyrick Mitchell (21) and Jairo Riedewald (24) - but this has not helped their defensive problems.

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Palace have conceded 33 goals and scored 22 so far this season, the Eagles also rely on Wilfried Zaha to win games - picking up just two wins in their last 17 league games without him despite new attacking signings.

There have also been too many games in which Palace have started passively and failed to really get at teams when they are there for the taking.

Hodgson will be aware that he needs to find a good balance between defence and attack, to address the defesive problems, whilst creating a team that can manifest more chances in the final third.