Crystal Palace vs Stoke City Preview: Can Palace Reap The Rewards Of Their Recent Form?

Crystal Palace manager, Roy Hodgson is adamant that the team’s recent performances gives them confidence in their quest to stay up.

Coming off the back of the international break last week Palace were encouraging against a struggling Everton side but were held to just a point following a controversial penalty incident involving Oumar Niasse.

“We thought after the game that it was a dive, it’s always hard for referees to pick these things up in the heat of the moment but we thought it wasn’t a penalty and I’m grateful to have been shown my judgement isn’t that bad,”

Since then the Everton striker has received a two game suspension for being thought to have dived for the penalty which drew them level. Here’s what Hodgson had to say on the matter:

However, it was clear that he would’ve preferred the win over the suspension as he said:

“I respect the decision they made but it doesn’t help us a great deal as it would have been nicer if the penalty wasn’t given and he not having to serve a two match suspension.”

Nevertheless, with the Eagles managing to find the net frequently there is room to be positive and ahead of welcoming Stoke City to Selhurst Park tomorrow, Hodgson said:

“We’re expecting a very tough game and as far as I’m concerned we will have to be at our best to get something from the game.

“The performances in the last five games starting with Chelsea which we were fortunate enough to win and the four other matches we’ve drawn two, lost two but we believe we could’ve done better in each of those four games,”

Those five games were: Chelsea (2-1 W), Newcastle (1-0 L), West Ham (2-2 D), Tottenham (1-0 D), Everton (2-2 D)

“The players also feel that the rewards in terms of points from those five games don’t match the performances and that’s good because that should give us confidence for this run of games between now and Christmas.”

Now that Hodgson seems to be finding his groove at Palace everything seems to be coming together, especially with the tools now at his disposal.

On arrival the former-England boss’ injury list was quite heavy with the likes of Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke on the mend, but with everyone apart from Connor Wickham and Chung Lee available tomorrow that makes the task at hand that much easier for Palace.

With an almost fully fit squad for the Christmas run in and the motivation of a victory over the champions, there is a sense of belief at the club that they can climb out of the red zone.

Playing at home will also be a massive advantage tomorrow as the fans will know a win could draw them level on points with Swansea and with Stoke looking for their first win in six games, tomorrow could be the perfect opportunity.

However, as Hodgson knows nothing is decided in November he made it clear that this is still a marathon, not a sprint:

“We’ve got to work on the basis that every game we play gives us the opportunity for those points and we really have to start doing enough to get them, but sometimes like at in my experience at Fulham, the points come right at the end.”