What can FPL managers expect from Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace?

Roy Hodgson has returned to Crystal Palace as their manager until the end of the season.

The 75-year-old, who was previously in charge at Selhurst Park between 2017 and 2021, will be assisted by Paddy McCarthy and first-team coach Ray Lewington.

Hodgson replaces Patrick Vieira, who was sacked after a run of 11 matches without a win and only four goals scored in that time.

“It is a privilege to be asked to return to the club, which has always meant so much to me, and to be given the important task of turning the team’s fortunes around. Our sole objective now is to start winning matches, and to get the points necessary to ensure our Premier League status.

Crystal Palace is known for its fighting spirit, and I have no doubt that all our supporters will fight with us, beginning with the visit of Leicester City a week Saturday.” – Roy Hodgson

So, can Hodgson turn Palace’s fortunes around and put the likes of Wilfried Zaha (£7.2m) back on our Watchlists? We’ll attempt to find out in this Scout Report.


What can FPL managers expect from Roy Hodgson's Crystal Palace? 1

Hodgson’s managerial career has spanned more than 45 years and has taken him all around the world, including stints at Inter Milan, Blackburn Rovers, Fulham, Liverpool, West Bromwich Albion, Crystal Palace and Watford.

He has also led the national sides of Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Finland and, of course, England, who he managed from 2012 to 2016.

Hodgson has 382 Premier League matches as a manager. His last experience was at Watford from January to May 2022, but his departure was confirmed after their relegation to the Championship.


After taking over at Palace in 2017, Hodgson kept the Eagles clear of relegation for the four seasons he was in charge.

He kept them up in 2017/18 when he took over from Frank de Boer after they had lost their first four matches without scoring. Then in his first full season, Palace equalled their best-ever points tally in a Premier League campaign.

In Hodgson’s last season at Selhurst Park (2020/21), they finished 14th, although their form dropped off, as they lost six of their final eight games.

Season Won Drawn Lost Scored (rank v other PL clubs) Conceded (rank v other PL clubs) Points Position
2017/18 11 11 16 45 (9th) 55 (10th) 44 11th
2018/19 14 7 17 51 (11th) 53 (10th) 49 12th
2019/20 11 10 17 31 (19th) 50 (9th) 43 14th
2020/21 12 8 18 41 (14th) 66 (18th) 44 14th


Season Clean sheets – rank v other PL clubs Shots conceded – rank v other PL clubs Shots in the box conceded – rank v other PL clubs Big chances conceded – rank v other PL clubs Expected goals conceded (xGC) – rank v other PL clubs
2017/18 9th= 9th 12th 12th= 9th
2018/19 6th 15th 11th 9th 13th
2019/20 9th= 13th= 12th 12th= 14th
2020/21 17th 15th 19th 18th 18th

Apart from his final campaign, Palace’s underlying defensive numbers were fairly respectable under Hodgson and they finished top half for clean sheets in his first three years in charge.

Season Shots – rank v other PL clubs Shots in the box – rank v other PL clubs Big chances – rank v other PL clubs Expected goals (xG) – rank v other PL clubs
2017/18 7th 6th 5th 6th
2018/19 8th 8th 15th 13th
2019/20 19th 17th 20th 19th
2020/21 18th 18th 18th= 19th

The final two years at Palace saw them ranked third-worst and second-worst for shots, with only one side having a lower expected goals (xG) tally each time. However, they were among the top six teams for xG in Hodgson’s first season.


Hodgson relied on a 4-4-2 system for the majority of the 2020/21 campaign, defending as a unit but with a readiness to go forward and hit teams on the counter-attack, often to a front two of Zaha and Jordan Ayew (£5.2m).

However, in his final months at Selhurst Park, he switched to a 4-3-3, a system he continued to use in that disastrous spell at Watford.

Still, whatever shape was used, they would mostly attack on the left side, which was usually occupied by Patrick van Aanholt and Zaha. This approach allowed Zaha to get more involved in the final third (see below), with 38.3% of the chances they created in 2020/21 stemming from the left, compared to just 25.8% on the right.

With Zaha, Ayew, Eberechi Eze (£5.4m), Michael Olise (£5.4m), Jeffrey Schlupp (£4.7m), Odsonne Edouard (£5.0m) and Jean-Philippe Mateta (£5.1m) at his disposal, Hodgson could transition between a 4-3-3 and a 4-4-2, with the latter potentially favoured given that Palace’s struggles have been in attack this season.


Palace sit 12th in the table but they are only three points above the bottom three.

Under Vieira, they weren’t conceding a lot of goals – 38 in 28 matches this season – fewer than nine other teams in the league.

The problem is at the other end of the pitch: no top-flight side has scored fewer goals than Palace in 2022/23, who rank second-bottom for minutes per expected goal (xG).

Total (rank v other PL clubs)
Minutes per expected goal (xG) 106.5 (19th)
Minutes per expected goal conceded (xGC) 67.1 (12th)


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A winless run of 12 matches in all competitions cost Vieira his job, but it’s worth noting the Frenchman faced a really tough run of post-World Cup opponents.

With those games out of the way, there is perhaps positive news for Hodgson.

Of the remaining 10 games, Palace take on only two sides currently in the top half of the table (Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham), meaning they have one of easiest schedules in the league according to our Season Ticker.

Hodgson’s first match back on the touchline will be a home game against Leicester City in Gameweek 29, which is followed by Leeds United, Southampton, Everton, Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Ham United. Should they still be in the relegation mix, their last two home matches are against Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest.

With Eze, Olise and Zaha, this Palace side really shouldn’t be lacking in creativity, and they did create some good opportunities in their two most recent games against Brighton and Hove Albion and Arsenal. If Hodgson can restore the confidence of those players, they could become FPL options.

Zaha hasn’t registered a goal or assist in his last 11 matches, with just six and two respectively overall this term. However, in his last season under Hodgson, he got 11 goals and four assists, while in 2018/19 he hit 21 goal contributions in total. That suggests Hodgson knows how to get the best out of him, so it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if their talisman steps up during the run-in.

Eze also played some wonderful football under Hodgson in his first season in the top flight, while Olise has been Palace’s best creator so far this season. At just £5.4m each, they could potentially offer value in the budget midfielder category.

Above: Crystal Palace players sorted by chances created (CC) in 2022/23

It must be said, however, that attack isn’t really Hodgson’s area of expertise; formulating an organised defence is.

Vicente Guaita (£4.4m) could potentially be of use then, although previously under Hodgson, he didn’t need to make that many saves, ranking eighth among all goalkeepers in 2020/21 and 2019/20. If he fails to carry as much upside as others in his position, like Kepa Arrizabalaga (£4.7m) and David Raya (£4.8m), Marc Guehi (£4.4m) and Joachim Andersen (£4.5m) will surely be his preferred centre-back pairing.

Palace have turned to Hodgson as a safe pair of hands to try to fight off the threat of relegation, but the style of football towards the end of his previous spell at Selhurst Park wasn’t great, while there are also reservations about his disappointing time at Watford, which ended in relegation.

Still, it could be argued that there is a lot more talent in this current Palace squad than the one Hodgson left in 2021 and it will be interesting to see the style of football he implements. If he can turn things around, they could throw up one or two interesting assets for FPL managers to consider, given their prices and that appealing fixture run.

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