Brighton beat Crystal Palace for the second time this season on Saturday, and Roy Hodgson’s performance on the day was nothing short of abysmal.
Selhurst Park has seen just three league victories for the Eagles all year, and Saturday’s clash against Brighton didn’t exactly go to plan either.
The Seagulls took the lead in the first half when Glenn Murray capitalised on a mistake from James Tomkins, but Luka Milivojevic levelled from the spot for the hosts.
Anthony Knockaert decided the outcome of the match with a stunning strike though, cutting inside Patrick van Aanholt and curling a wonderful effort into the far top corner.
While the visitors deserve immense credit for taking the few chances that fell their way, the blame for the Eagles should be place entirely on Hodgson, whose team selection and game management were downright absurd.
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It didn’t take a genius to work out that Brighton would set up defensively in south London, but Hodgson clearly didn’t figure it out.
His side had 63 per cent of the ball, eight more corners and spent most of the match in the opposition’s half, per Whoscored, yet the boss opted for a midfield three without an ounce of creativity.
With all due respect, Milivojevic, Jeffrey Schlupp and James McArthur wouldn’t break down a deep, organised defence if you gave them all year, but Hodgson waited until the 77th minute to introduce Max Meyer.
A 4-2-3-1 formation, with Milivojevic and Cheikhou Kouyate offering Meyer the freedom to roam around in the number ten role, could have caused absolute havoc between the Brighton lines of defence.
If the gaffer’s starting XI and system were completely wrong, his in-game decisions were even worse.
Aforementioned, he took way too long to make changes. On top of that, when the change eventually did come, it coincided with a switch to a 4-4-2, a switch that ultimately took Palace’s best player out of the game.
Sticking Zaha out wide in a 4-4-2 formation in the hope of launching crosses in towards two strikers is the sign of a manager going backwards, not forwards.
With the likes of Michy Batshuayi, Zaha, Milivojevic, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Mamadou Sakho, the Eagles have some of the best players in the league outside of the top six.
As long as Hodgson is at the helm though, they will continue to play uninspiring, rigid football.
The ex-England boss did a superb job rescuing the club from the mess left by Frank de Boer, but providing he does little more than steady the ship until the end of the season, he should be sacked this summer.