Hodgson facing battle to keep Eagles on the up

Crystal Palace
Roy Hodgson was pleased with the performance levels of his Crystal Palace players during their pre-season clash with FC Luzern.

After a disappointing start to the season, Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson knows it will be another big ask to keep his side making progress this term.

Having managed to keep hold of star attacker Wilfried Zaha there was optimism about what Palace could achieve this season.

Of course, it’s still very early days but a draw with Everton and a defeat at newly-promoted Sheffield United is hardly something to write home about.

The loses of full-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Manchester United was a blow over the summer transfer window but it did allow the club to invest in bringing the likes of Gary Cahill, Victor Camarasa and James McCarthy to the club.

It will of course take players time to gel but it has not been the start to the campaign the Eagles faithful would have hoped for.

Things won’t get any easier for Hodgson this weekend as his side prepare to make the trip to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United.

The Theatre of Dreams has not been a happy hunting ground for the Eagles, who have not won at the home of the Red Devils in the league for 30 years.

Hodgson says he is looking forward to Saturday’s encounter but it could be a long afternoon for Palace, especially if United can replicate the performance that saw them thrash Chelsea 4-0 on the opening weekend of the Premier League season.

The former England boss said: “For teams like ourselves – and I’ve worked with teams like Fulham and West Brom who are in a similar position – Old Trafford has always been a very daunting place to go if you need a result. They are a top team and a very top club.

“Every footballer in the world would like to play at Old Trafford. In that respect, it’s a great occasion.

“They’ve had a good start to the season and their new players are showing why they’ve been bought and why the club and manager have decided to invest money in them.”

Really for Hodgson his side have nothing to lose against United, given their poor record at Old Trafford.

A real test to see where Palace are will come in their following Premier League outing when they host newly-promoted Aston Villa at Selhurst Park.

Villa have splashed the cash over the summer but Dean Smith failed to impress in their opening two games of the season back in the top flight.

A win for the Eagles there and it’s something to build on.

But a defeat to Villa? Then maybe some more serious questions will have to be asked in the coming weeks of where this Palace team are going under Hodgson.