February 25, 2024

A troubled After Crystal Palace’s humiliating 5-0 loss to Arsenal, which put them in danger of relegation, Roy Hodgson said that he could understand the frustration in the stands and raised new concerns about his leadership.

During the game and at full time, the away supporters carried banners criticizing the direction of the team. One of the banners demanded the departure of the club’s co-owners, Steve Parish, John Textor, Josh Harris, and David Blitzer. Although there wasn’t much opposition to Hodgson on the outside, seeing Graham Potter in the Emirates stands added to the feeling that there are other options.

“It’s quite a detailed [message] and it’s aimed at probably everybody in the club, it seemed,” Hodgson said. “All I can say is that they are entitled to their opinion. I understand their frustration, anger and disappointment that things haven’t gone better.

<span>Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian</span>

“We can make our excuses that certain things have worked against us but the bottom line is that, if we are going to go forward and avoid relegation and do well, we need those fans with us. Hopefully we can do our best to keep them on board. We can only do that by winning matches and playing better than we did today.”

A slew of setbacks, the most expensive of which involved Michael Olise, have limited Hodgson’s options, as has Jordan Ayew’s ability to play for Ghana at the Africa Cup of Nations. Nevertheless, Palace is five points clear of the relegation zone despite having played more games than several of its competitors, and a run of one win in 12 games—10 of which were league games—raises longer-term concerns. There is a chance that the danger will worsen.

Asked if he had his board’s backing, Hodgson responded: “That’s a question for them isn’t it? If you’re asking me have I ever felt there is a lack of support from them, no I haven’t, they have been good. In the scenario you are envisaging, that has to be a question for them.”

Mikel Arteta had far less to regret after a match that lifted Arsenal into third, two points shy of the leaders, Liverpool, having played a game more. He had faced questions of his own before their mini winter break but the outcome was never in doubt after Gabriel Magalhães’s 11th-minute opener. Arsenal have become set-piece wizards, topping the charts from corners and scoring their first two goals by that means.

“We trained set pieces less in the last week than other aspects of the game, this is the beauty of it,” he said. “[I was] really pleased with the clean sheet, which is something that we’ve been lacking to win games. And sharing the goals as well, which I think is going to make a big impact on the team.“This is the second part of the season, and we want to tackle it with a lot of aggression and motivation.”

Arteta confirmed Declan Rice and Gabriel both came off in the second half with discomfort, explaining there was no point taking risks given Arsenal’s winning position.

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