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Sport Keep the Faith: Hodgson’s Tactics are Bearing Fruit

17:35  26 october  2020
17:35  26 october  2020 Source:   readsport.co

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  The wrong right-back? Aaron Wan-Bissaka's best qualities are what make him unsuited to Gareth Southgate's England In England's surfeit of top right-backs, Manchester United's Aaron Wan-Bissaka may be the best defensively. That's the problem, writes Richard JollySome of that may not be true, but it is nevertheless notable that Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s decision to put the Congolese flag on his Instagram biography generated suggestions that he is changing his international allegiance. Or, as he played for both the Democratic Republic of Congo and England at Under-20 level, simply opting for the country he represented first.

Roy Hodgson’s calls for greater attacking fluidity have been answered – and Palace fans should keep at least a modicum of faith in the Eagles’ prospects.

a group of men playing a game of football: Fulham v Crystal Palace - Premier League © Mike Hewitt/Getty Images Sport Fulham v Crystal Palace - Premier League

Palace beat Fulham 2-1 at Craven Cottage on Saturday to move up to seventh as of Monday, with ten points from their opening six games.

Their points tally makes for better reading after ending their previous season with a winless run of eight games – understandably a run that put pressure on Hodgson’s side to bounce back. Evidently, Hodgson knows how to yield results at present.

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The veteran Eagles boss had previously spoken frankly and critically about his side’s need to show more desire and creative imagination after managing a lone shot on goal against rivals Brighton in the preceding fixture – with that only shot being a converted penalty.

Hodgson was deservedly able to demand more of his side.

“The last game wasn’t one we were satisfied with in terms of our attacking play”, commented the Eagles manager after the Brighton draw.

“We’d have liked to play a little bit better on the ball and we are looking to make that right tomorrow.”

However, the Fulham result speaks of a different approach to the game altogether.

Crystal Palace increased their shots on target in the game ten-fold, representing the most they have managed in an away Premier League since August 2018, – with that game also being against Fulham.

"A Class Above": Palace Fans Praise Riedewald after Brighton Draw

  Palace fans were quick to note the performance of one key player in the 1-1 weekend draw with arch-rivals Brighton. Jairo Riedewald unusually made a rare start against the Seagulls, but offered a commendable display that exhibited his nimbleness, strong ball control and passing abilities. Hodgson’s rare faith in the young Dutchman was seemingly rewarded with an impressive overall midfield display. A pass success rate of 95.8 per cent was the highest of any player to feature in the draw, demonstrating Riedewald’s composure, vision, and presence in dictating Palace’s play.

Wilfried Zaha also looks to be in fine form. He has scored five goals in his last six Premier League games for Crystal Palace, as many as in his previous 41 combined.

Hodgson was keen to highlight a renewed energy against Fulham, claiming the morale and work ethic of the squad is superb.

“We’ve got a stronger squad,” he said. “There’s no question of that. Looking at the bench there were some good players that had been kept out by the fact we had a good start and the guys who got in, for one reason or another, have managed to keep their places.

“That’s a major factor without a shadow of a doubt. I think the team discipline, organisation and work-rate is also extremely important. Even on days when our passing and attacking play isn’t quite as good as it was today we still stay in games and give ourselves a chance of getting some points.

“And I think the team spirit is very good – the guys know what they’ve got to do to climb up the table and they’re all determined I think to do that.”

In their latest victory, Palace’s offensive acumen was rewarded with three points. Hodgson clearly enabled a greater creative fluidity to his midfield and front pairing in Zaha and Michy Batshuayi. A comfortable, assured performance is great cause for optimism – a performance that shows Hodgson is not opposed to playing more positive counter-attacking football when the circumstances warrant it.

The Aston Villa Midweek Update: John McGinn, Wesley return, Hourihane plea .
All eyes will be on Dean Smith’s Aston Villa this weekend as they face Arsenal seeking to end a run of two consecutive defeats. The Claret and Blue outfit had a superb start to the season, winning their first four four league games, but defeats to Leeds United and Southampton have seen them drop to eighth in the table. The post-match reaction to the defeat against the high-flying Saints saw Smith come under some scrutiny, something that kicked off the week in terms of news coming out of Villa Park.Other news also features a potential upcoming return for Brazilian striker Wesley, whilst calls have been made for Conor Hourihane to feature against the Gunners at the weekend.

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