Crystal Palace find themselves rock bottom going into gameweek 12 after a disastrous start to their campaign. The Eagles have just one win in their 11 games, coming from a surprise 2-1 win over champions Chelsea at Selhurst Park. Frank de Boer took over Palace at the start of the season and was sacked after just 5 games. New employee Roy Hodgson has a lot of rebuilding to do if he is to rescue Palace from the relegation battle.
The ex England manager was among the attendants of the World Cup Qualifier game against Sweden and Italy to have a glimpse of Jakob Johansson, the man to score the winner in that clash. Crystal Palace at the moment lacks a solid defensive midfielder who can protect the back-line, currently lacking in Luka Milivojevic’s trade. As an aid to the defence, he is expected to break up play and ensure his distribution is spot on. The Serbian’s passing accuracy is at 82% this season, but a stat that went as low as 73% last campaign.
It is quite evident that the spine is what The Eagles and Roy Hodgson lack, evident in the number of goals they have conceded this term. The AEK Athens star is a real engine, who can keep his motor running for days. His physical presence helps him brush players aside to stamp his authority in the middle of the park.
Crystal Palace possesses just 1 defensive midfielder on their roster and distinctly lack squad depth to their counterparts. A heavy schedule during the winter break means additions are inevitable to the squad. An injury to either one of their central midfielders would be a nightmare for Hodgson to deal with. Frank de Boer has failed to address the situation regarding their midfielders. Loftus-Cheek was the lone arrival at centre midfield. While Palace’s front-runners look quite strong, it would be useless when there is hardly any production from their suppliers.
Signing Johansson not only stabilizes the midfield but also provides the much-required security regarding injuries and suspensions. A good partnership alongside Loftus-Cheek could be key for Crystal Palace given their difficulty to dictate play and keep hold of the ball when they win back possession.
Palace players have been dispossessed a mammoth 156 times in the 11 games, the highest compared to Swansea’s 138 and West Ham’s 102, two teams providing company in the relegation spots.
A strengthened spine for The Eagles could see them starting to straighten up and possibly release themselves from the deadly zone of relegation.
Should Hodgson make a move for Jakob Johansson?