Back at the start of December, we outlined how the next seven games for Crystal Palace and Roy Hodgson could be season-defining.
A 2-0 win away to Burnley had just left the Eagles in a decent position heading into the festive period, with the south Londoners sitting tenth on 18 points from 14 games – just two points off fifth.
Following the trip to Turf Moor, Hodgson would have a fixture list containing games against Bournemouth, Watford, Brighton, Newcastle, West Ham, Southampton and Norwich staring him in the face.
Looking back at this run with the glorious benefit of hindsight, it can be said that the former England manager perhaps failed to take advantage of this seemingly favourable schedule.
Aside from the unlikely win against Bournemouth – having had ten men for 71 minutes of the game – Hodgson could only muster up one more win from these fixtures ,which came courtesy of a 90th minute winner from Jordan Ayew against West Ham.
There were draws against Watford, Brighton, Southampton and Norwich while Newcastle grabbed a 1-0 win, which left Palace on 28 points from 21 games following this seven-match period.
In truth, that is disappointing – it means the Eagles only took ten points out of a possible 21.
However, Hodgson has a fine excuse.
In that aforementioned piece of ours from the beginning of December, we outlined the fact that Palace had ‘no significant injury problems’ as a reason for a potential festive surge up the Premier League table.
“It may be nothing but merely hypothetical, but if the Eagles can win even a few of these fixtures, then things could be looking pretty interesting ahead of the New Year – Palace are currently just two points off fifth, with no significant injury problems and star man Wilfried Zaha finally finding some form.”
Humorously, however, things changed drastically to the point where the 72-year-old had 11 players out injured at one stage, forcing him to play Cheikhou Kouyate at centre-back and Jairo Riedewald at left-back.
The south Londoners still remain in a respectable position in ninth with 29 points to their name, although things could’ve been a lot better against the calibre of opponents in that seven-game run, most of whom were relegation fodder at the time while some still are.
It’s the dawn of a new decade in the Premier League, but how much do you know about the last 10 years?
Hodgson could’ve overseen a few more wins, although the sudden injury crisis means he should be excused.
In other news, this journalist has offered an encouraging update on the future of Vicente Guaita…