EPL

Pressure increases on Roy Hodgson after Brighton thrash rivals Crystal Palace

By Sports Desk February 03, 2024

Roy Hodgson cut a forlorn figure as Crystal Palace slumped to a dispiriting 4-1 defeat at their fierce rivals Brighton in the Premier League.

Goals from Lewis Dunk, Jack Hinshelwood, Facundo Buonanotte and Joao Pedro once again left the future of the veteran Eagles boss under scrutiny.

Palace sacked their previous manager, Patrick Vieira, following a 1-0 defeat in this fixture last season so Hodgson, on a run of just four wins from 17 matches, could be on thin ice.

The 76-year-old is hamstrung by the absence of Eberechi Eze through injury while his other key man, Michael Olise, was only deemed fit enough for the bench.

Yet when Olise was sent on, at half-time, his side were already 3-0 down, and the winger lasted just eight minutes before pulling up again.

A late goal from Jean-Philippe Mateta could not mask the flaws in Hodgson’s ailing side, and the loss of captain Marc Guehi to a first-half knee injury just compounded a thoroughly rotten day for the Eagles.

If Brighton were suffering a hangover from their 4-0 midweek drubbing at Luton, they were over it in double quick time.

With their first attack and just two minutes in, Tariq Lamptey forced a corner down the left, Pascal Gross swung the ball in and Dunk gave Joachim Andersen a gentle shove as he rose above him to glance into the net.

Palace were perpetually living dangerously at the back and when a Pedro cross found Buonanotte, the shortest player on the pitch planted a header straight at Dean Henderson.

Their cause was not helped by the knee injury suffered by Guehi, who looked distraught when he limped off midway through the first half to be replaced by deadline-day signing Adam Wharton.

Guehi’s absence was keenly felt when 18-year-old Hinshelwood, not exactly the height of a basketball player himself, nipped in to head home a cross from Lamptey.

Just 86 seconds later it was three after debutant Wharton was dispossessed by Gross, who strolled forward before slipping in Buonanotte to score.

Dismayed Palace fans unfurled their anti-board banner, which first got an airing during the 5-0 hammering at Arsenal a fortnight ago.

It was easy to see where their frustrations lie. They had to wait until first-half stoppage time for their side’s first shot in anger, a long-range effort from Jefferson Lerma which was deflected wide.

When Olise, who was presumably not remotely fit, limped off, chants of ‘you don’t know what you’re doing’ emanated from the away end. The Brighton fans, never shy to revel in their rivals’ misfortune, responded with ‘Super Roy Hodgson’.

A brief, belated Palace flurry saw Mateta head home a cross from Andersen, but any hopes of a comeback were dashed when Pedro played a one-two with Danny Welbeck and slotted home to finish the Eagles off.

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