Crystal Palace are having a disastrous season, emphasised by mass uncertainty, protests from supporters, and a general disconnect between the club and its fanbase. They face Chelsea on Monday night as they seek their fourth home win of the season. 

The situation at Selhurst Park is dire, with the general consensus being that Roy Hodgson should be given his marching orders and the club should seek a new direction to steer them clear of the relegation zone.

Performances have been poor, results have been even worse, and the sense around the football club is that everyone has had enough.

Hodgson's job is under increasing pressure, with many reports suggesting that defeat to Chelsea on Monday night could be the straw that breaks the camels back with the sack inevitable for the Palace boss.

Chelsea are on a thirteen-game winning run against the Eagles, with a positive result seeming like a tough task for the South London club. 

Hodgsons Plea

Crystal Palace are stuck in a horrendous run of form, shipping eleven goals in their last three games and taking just two wins from their last twelve league matches.

Speculation has emerged over Roy Hodgson's future, with numerous reports suggesting that Steve Parish is ready to pull the trigger, sacking the 76-year-old as soon as a replacement is lined up.

In his pre-match press conference, Hodgson addressed his uncertain future.

“The chairman and I talk all the time, but there’s been no specific talk about the future."

Hodgson pleaded with the fans to stick with him and his side as things have turned toxic in SE25, with numerous protests and a huge disconnect between the club and the fans hitting boiling point last week at Brighton.  Fans made their frustrations known and some even having face-to-face confrontation with the players.

"When the fans have turned against us as they have, that's the worst possible scenario.

"You can understand it because we haven’t really got ourselves going after the Brentford game and kicked on from there with wins that they would have hoped for, and we have had two heavy defeats.

"We’ve got to get on with it and keep doing the best for them we can for them, but we understand that at the moment they're not too happy with the situation, and they're letting us know that they’re not too happy with the situation, and we have to take that on board and take it on the chin because they're right to do so."

He added that if Palace are to turn things around their support is needed more than ever. 

"We certainly can’t do it without them. In the current situation we have, where so many of our better players are not available, the players that are going to come in to their place, they need even more encouragement, more support than ever, so we can only hope that the fans will understand the situation and will give us that support and that backing that they’ve always given in the five years that I’ve been at the club."

The veteran Palace boss addressed the unsavoury scenes at the end of the game last Saturday against Brighton.

"It was very tough on Saturday, when the players go over to do what I think it’s right that they do, move across to the fans, applaud them, and thank them for coming. It’s hard then to be abused, even though we understand the fans' frustration, and we can take it."

Strained Squad

Roy Hodgson's side has a horrific injury record, with Joel Ward, Marc Guehi, Rob Holding, Cheick Doucoure,Michael Olise, Jesurun Rak-Sakyi, and Eberechi Eze all sidelined.

Life has been tough for Palace, stuck in a relegation battle, constantly looking over their shoulders, and rarely having the use of their marquee players.

The injury crisis was exacerbated by their rivals, Brighton, last weekend, with Marc Guehi going off injured after just 28 minutes and Michael Olise coming on at halftime to just last ten minutes. 

“[Olise and Eze] are both hamstrings, but Marc Guéhi has jarred his knee.

"Michael has picked up another serious injury, which is absolutely devastating for him, for the club, and for everyone, really.

“Guéhi is just a question of time until that jarring passes and he gets full flexibility in his knee, so it doesn’t necessarily need to be a particularly long injury."

Hodgson added that he felt his side has had some serious misfortune this season, which has limited them in terms of style of play and results.

“It’s another element of incredible bad luck we have suffered recently. To lose those two (Eze and Olise) and Marc Guéhi in the same period of time, and add to that Doucouré that we’ve had to come to terms with, that is four of the players most important to the club and the team last season we don’t have anymore.

Hodgson explained that Olise was benched because he was fatigued and not carrying an injury; he further divulged the decision to bring the Frenchman on.

"When there was a chance that he could be available, and everyone got together and decided well, he can perhaps be available, and we need to start him on the bench and maybe bring him on in the second half, that’s where we all were. We perhaps then strode blindly ahead.

"It’s not easy when you’ve got a player like Olise on the bench to turn around and say, By the way, you just sit there and watch the game; we don’t need you. That’s not so easy."

"There was no indication from us to say that he was happy to do that because Michael’s a quiet guy, so that’s the other unfortunate part of this whole equation.

"Another player might just have said, Look, I don’t think it’s worth it; I might need a bit more time, but we can’t expect that off of him; that’s not fair to expect that of him; he’s just going along with what the whole club thinks."

Opportunities arise

In light of the injury crisis, Hodgson is going to be forced to utilise the entirety of his squad. The key losses in his squad come in the attacking department, limiting any forward play his team can have. Those bargaining for those attacking spots include Mathues França and Naouirou Ahamada.

“Our squad is getting so much smaller, and they play in the area where we are missing players; both [Ahamada and França] have benefited from time.

"They understand more of what we are trying to do, and their game is constantly improving. Now for them, when they get a chance, they have to really grasp that."

VAVEL Logo
About the author
Bobby Manzi
London based Sports Reporter covering Chelsea, Crystal Palace and Liverpool.