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Opinion

Roy's boys in danger of the drop, as relegation looms large at Selhurst Park

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James new author
Roar Rookie
6 days ago
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Despite good early form, the Eagles now find themselves in a relegation battle, sitting 14th and only six points clear of 18th-placed West Ham.

Combine this with no wins in all competitions since December and a distinct lack of goals and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

But how has a seemingly stable Premier League club like Crystal Palace been dragged into the relegation battle?

Goals
Last season, as Palace finished a relatively safe 12th, Wilfried Zaha reached double figures in the league, as did midfield general and set-piece specialist Luka Milivojevic. At this stage of the season, their combined tally adds up to five, with Swansea import Jordan Ayew’s six good for top scorer.

The only other players to score more than one goal in the league this season are converted winger Jeffrey Schlupp and full back Patrick Van Aanholt, both of whom are injured.

The loan signing of Everton outcast Cenk Tosun in January provides a different option as a genuine poacher, similar to Michy Batshuayi last season, but he is still not accustomed to the English game entirely.

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This is all without talking about record signing Christian Benteke, who has amassed just five Premier League goals in three seasons at Selhurst Park.

The only real bright spark has been the surprising form of Ayew. Expectations for the Ghanaian attacker at the start of the season wouldn’t have been particularly lofty after he only scored one goal for the Eagles in 2018-19, but he has significantly improved.

Poor recruitment
A lack of significant spending has left Palace with the second-oldest squad in the league. Even if they survive the drop this season, a squad overhaul is necessary.

However, replacing the older core with fresh talent looks like a piece of cake compared to the task of replacing Zaha, with Everton a potential destination for him this summer.

It is debatable whether the Eagles would still be in the division had it not been for the Ivorian international’s contribution over the last few years.

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After observing the teething issues with his squad, the job that Roy Hodgson has done since taking over from Frank de Boer after just four games of the 2017-18 season is even more impressive.

However, he is second favourite to be the next Premier League manager sacked, only behind Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United.

If the Eagles do keep sliding down the table, Roy’s head will be on the chopping block, despite the issues at the club primarily being with the board and recruitment teams.

But sacking the manager will only further the club’s instability and plummet Palace closer and closer to championship football.