Back in October, Crystal Palace fans were not happy with Luka Milivojevic following a defeat to Manchester City.
While it was perhaps harsh criticism given the level of opposition that day, the overriding theme from the supporters’ complaints were based on the win against West Ham the week before losing to Pep Guardiola’s men.
They felt that Roy Hodgson’s side performed better without the Serbia international involved in the starting XI.
Now, while that might’ve sounded a tad reactionary at the time, given the difference in quality between the Hammers and the Citizens, those fans have since been proven right by the Eagles’ recent winning run.
Plays a better game then Luka has in the past 18 months against West Ham. Gets dropped for Luka next game. Luka has a disaster class. Stop hyping up the penalty merchant. McCarthy > Luka pic.twitter.com/vu3kVzB23r
— ? (@ollieecpfc) October 21, 2019
Better 2nd half! Benteke so unlucky not to score! Think Luka needs to be dropped, been poor for ages! Love Zaha but wish he would cut out some of his moaning. Love Jimmy Mac! Ayew works his socks off but needs support! Cahill is class! #CPFC
— James Gingell (@grizzle1988) October 19, 2019
@BackOfTheNest I think we are better without Luka…
— Nick (@nickgusset) October 20, 2019
Yes. Right now he’s the weak link in our midfield.
— WarrenB (@WarrenAJB) October 20, 2019
Yep. Needs some time on the naughty step.
— Rob2 (@rob_two) October 20, 2019
Constantly giving away the ball, free kicks, doesn’t lead the side well enough. Would at least like to see others given a chance
— Big H (@HenryKerrG) October 20, 2019
I actually had this thought myself yesterday. What does he bring to the team? Penalties aside.
— Craig Skinner (@craigskin) October 20, 2019
The ex-Anderlecht man is Crystal Palace’s captain, but even that didn’t see Hodgson immediately reinstate him into the starting XI after he recovered from illness.
Milivojevic missed the 1-0 win over Newcastle in which Patrick van Aanholt’s freekick handed the south Londoners all three points, which added a bit more weight to the aforementioned argument from the supporters on Twitter.
Furthermore, their claims from October were only bolstered even more when the skipper was left on the bench for the following game against Brighton, in which the Eagles picked up three more points.
Perhaps keen to stick to a winning formula, Hodgson opted for the same XI for the next game against Watford, where Crystal Palace were again victorious without Milivojevic, who was introduced as a substitute with 20 minutes remaining.
While two games in September against West Ham and Manchester City did little to justify the Palace supporters’ claims, these recent three matches – in which the Eagles have won three games in a row without the Serbian – does mean that those fans have now been proven right.
For now at least, it does appear that the former England manager’s XI operates better without Milivojevic.
In other news, meet the unsung Crystal Palace employee who helped discover Joel Ward…