Eberechi Eze’s wonderful solo goal against Wolves helped Crystal Palace to a 1-0 win at Selhurst Park on Saturday.
But after switching to a 4-2-3-1 formation Hodgson’s side held on to secure all three points, with Eze’s sensational strike helping to beat a toothless Wolves.
Wilfried Zaha, who went close either side of the break, came close to adding a second in the second half, only to see his effort slam against the crossbar.
Eze, on the other hand, looked a real handful, losing his marker in Leander Dendoncker, before curling the ball into the back of the net, which led Sky Sports’ Paul Merson to exclaim:
“What a big goal this is. He hit it as hard as he could, it wasn’t far from the goalkeeper, but it was a great strike. Eze is a class player.”
A moment of individual brilliance from the 22-year-old helped Palace put their poor form behind them with a 1-0 victory over Wolves.
Taking up position in attacking midfield behind the lone striker in the form of Michy Batshuayi – evidently his favoured position – Eze was afforded almost a free rein as Jordan Ayew and Zaha ran the channels somewhat effectively.
This in turn allowed him to control affairs in the middle of the park, as evidenced by his 41 successful passes from 44 attempts (93%), which was higher than the likes of Batshuayi (17) and Zaha (37), as he launched counter-attacks and was encouraged to run forwards to set his side on the front foot.
As per SofaScore, the attacking midfielder – who earns around £30,000-per-week at Selhurst Park – earned a high 7.1 match rating for his performance, bettered only by the likes of Patrick van Aanholt, Luka Milivojevic and Vicente Guaita.
He took two shots in total, including one shot on target, which is far better than his seasonal average of 0.9 per 90 minutes, and shows that he was performing at a higher level than previously expected.
Despite taking 55 touches, Eze lost possession of the ball just eight times in the entire game, this being fewer than any attacking player on the pitch besides Andros Townsend, and also significantly less than the 11.8 he has averaged per game in the Premier League this season thus far.
The victory has moved Hodgson’s men back into 13th place in the Premier League with Wolves a place below them in 14th.
If Palace are to stay above the relegation battle this season, on this evidence alone, we suspect Eze will be central to their hopes of Premier League survival. There’s no doubting the fact that Steve Parish will be delighted with his performance, having spent £19.5m to prise him away from Queens Park Rangers in the summer.