Crystal Palace: Matt Le Tissier names the Eagles as his surprise team of the season

This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…

Speaking to Sporting Life, Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier has named Crystal Palace as his surprise team of the season.

Le Tissier made 303 appearances for the Saints and scored an impressive 109 goals, with 102 of them coming in the Premier League for the south coast side.

Interestingly, the 51-year-old has been particularly surprised by the Eagles’ start to the campaign.

Roy Hodgson’s men currently sit 6th in the Premier League having lost just two of their eight games, and Le Tissier has sung the praises of the work being done by the former England manager.

What did he say?

Le Tissier said: “I think Crystal Palace have surprised me the most. They are sat in sixth place when I would have expected them to be in the bottom six, considering the lack of goals they have in their side. Roy Hodgson is doing a cracking job at the moment.”

A great achievement so far

What Hodgson has done so far this season deserves a lot of praise.

Presumably, the 72-year-old would’ve loved bundles of cash to spend on a prolific goalscorer in the summer, but instead, he had to make do with a spending spree that consisted of roughly £3.5m leaving the Eagles’ bank account.

Gary Cahill was signed on a free transfer. Jordan Ayew arrived in a deal worth £2.5m, and James McCarthy was signed for what The Athletic believe to be a fee under £1m.

Should Martin Kelly keep his place in the starting XI?

Yes

Yes

No

No

Nevertheless, Hodgson has rolled his sleeves up and got on with it in admirable fashion – he has also had to do so without his first-choice right-back from last season in Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who was sold to Manchester United for £50m.

To have a side missing such a key player, as well as one that has had to go without Mamadou Sakho and James Tomkins, performing so well deserves huge credit – effectively, Hodgson has lost three members of his starting back four from 2018/19 (two only temporarily), but has managed to keep the ship steady.

Le Tissier is right in two regards – Palace’s form is extremely surprising, and Hodgson deserves  all the credit.