Crystal Palace moved a big step closer to Premier League safety on Saturday, and Roy Hodgson should now show fans he has a daring side by changing the way he uses Patrick van Aanholt.
The Eagles won comfortably in the end on Saturday, but it wasn’t all plain sailing against the worst team in the top flight, whose relegation was confirmed by the result.
Huddersfield will feel unlucky not to have taken the lead when the score was 0-0, only for Luka Milivojevic to bag from the spot and van Aanholt to double the score ten minutes later.
Now, with their position in the top flight nearly secure, Hodgson should use van Aanholt’s strengths to help his side score more goals.
Saturday’s result was just the fourth time all season that the Eagles have scored two goals in a league fixture at Selhurst Park, and they are yet to muster three – the last time that happened was the 5-0 thrashing of Leicester at the end of the last campaign.
And this is mainly down to the way Hodgson sets his team up, usually opting for a midfield of workhorses without an ounce of creativity between them.
Van Aanholt and Zaha’s combination play down the left is often their own real source of chance creation, so could the flying full back be used further up the pitch?
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It’s not as if he’s particularly solid defensively anyway, and as well as his goal the 28 year-old managed to test Ben Hamer on another occasion and register one cross, three key passes and one dribble on Saturday, per Whoscored.
The Dutch international is far too good not to be given the license to get involved in the attack more, especially when Hodgson has plenty of versatile players like Joel Ward and Jeffrey Schlupp who could slot in at left-back for the remainder of the campaign.
The boss is infuriating fans by setting up too negatively, and whether it be by switching to a back three or simply handing van Aanholt a shock midfield berth, he must do something to show he has some guts before an inevitable summer of speculation.