Arsenal showed their expertise from set-pieces and put their goalscoring problems behind them to thrash a dismal Crystal Palace side; Palace fans made their feelings known by raising banners calling for club change during the final minutes; Palace have won once in their last 12 games
Image: Crystal Palace fans raise a banner to vent their frustrations at Arsenal
Roy Hodgson says he understands Crystal Palace fans’ anger following their latest defeat, a 5-0 loss at Arsenal. However, he says he has never felt a lack of support from the club’s board as pressure mounts on his future after one win in 12 games.
Palace were well beaten in north London and towards the end of the game, the travelling supporters unveiled two banners. The first read: ‘Wasted potential on and off the pitch, weak decisions taking us backwards’, the second ‘No shared vision, no structured plan’.
The fans’ frustrations come just days after Palace fans booed Hodgson’s decision to substitute star player Eberechi Eze with Palace losing 1-0 in the FA Cup third-round replay at Everton on Wednesday night.
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“The one on Wednesday was understandable, because they wouldn’t have been able to understand why I took Eze off the field,” Hodgson said after the loss at Arsenal.
Image: Palace fans made their feelings known on Saturday
“They thought it was a strange decision but we had our reasons for that and that message has got across. Today is a different type of message, a detailed one, aimed at everyone in the club, it seemed.
“All I would say is they are totally entitled to their opinion in that respect. I do understand their frustration, even anger and disappointment that things haven’t got better.
“We can make our excuses which we have been doing as certain things have worked against us in this period.
“The bottom line is if we are going to go forward and avoid relegation and do well, we need these fans with us. Hopefully we can keep them on board and the best way to do that is by winning football matches and playing better than today.”
‘I’ve never felt lack of support from board’
Image: Crystal Palace's head coach Roy Hodgson at Arsenal
Hodgson’s Palace now sit five points above the relegation zone – ten months after the 76-year-old’s predecessor Patrick Vieira was sacked for being three points above the bottom three.
“These days, staying in the Premier League is so important, relegation is such a fear for everybody,” he said.
“When a team isn’t doing as well as it should be doing, someone has to be held responsible and that’s always the manager.”
Asked if he has the support of the board and chairman Steve Parish, who was in attendance at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, Hodgson said: “That’s a question for them. If you are asking me if I have ever felt a lack of support from above, then it is no I haven’t.
“The situation or scenario you are envisaging, is a question for them.”
‘I will not dismiss our capabilities after last two games’
Palace were 2-0 down to Arsenal at half-time thanks to two goals from corners, with Hodgson raising issues with the “infringements” from the attacking players on both goals that were not picked up by the referee Paul Tierney, nor VAR.
Image: Gabriel climbs highest to score Arsenal's opener against Crystal Palace
Leandro Trossard then scored from an Arsenal counter-attack from a Palace corner in the second half, before Gabriel Martinelli scored twice in the final 102 seconds of the game as Palace players tired.
Hodgson also said he will not allow the final minutes to influence his thinking on the rest of the game – and hinted that this is not the week to judge his Palace side.
“I will not allow the last 10 or 15 minutes of the game to blind or totally blind or change my opinion on what the team tried to do during the bulk of game,” he said.
“At 3-0 I would have said, we lost to a better team and we will talk about the set plays. At 5-0 the talk will be about you being totally battered from start to finish, I don’t think that was the case.
“There are no magic wands in football, nothing can be said. It’s all good having press conferences and answering questions but it’s about the training field.
“We’ve shown over the last year that we do have capabilities in that respect. I’m not prepared to suddenly dismiss any of those capabilities after losing 1-0 at Everton to a wonder free-kick, then losing to Arsenal Football Club away from home today.
“That’s a question for them, isn’t it. If you’re asking me if I’ve ever felt a lack of support from above, I would say no, I haven’t. They have been good. Now in the scenario you are envisaging, that has to be a question for them.”
Crystal Palace are next in action in a crucial relegation battle at home to Sheffield United in the Premier League on Tuesday January 30; kick-off 8pm.
The Eagles then travel to M23 rivals Brighton on Saturday February 3; kick-off 3pm.