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Roy Hodgson: Is Crystal Palace manager under pressure as winless run continues?

With an average age of 30 years 101 days, Crystal Palace’s starting XI against Everton was their oldest for a Premier League game

Without a win in 2020 and possessing the worst goalscoring record in the Premier League, these are tough times for Crystal Palace.

The Eagles were beaten 3-1 at Everton on Saturday – a third successive defeat for Roy Hodgson’s side.

The loss leaves them six points above the relegation zone, but that gap could become smaller once their rivals have played their game in hand.

What is going wrong at Crystal Palace and is Hodgson the man to turn things around?

What’s the problem?

At one stage this season, Palace were up there with Sheffield United in posing a surprise threat towards the top end of the table. They were fifth as recently as early December, but a run of one victory in their past 11 games leaves them looking nervously over their shoulder.

Their inability to threaten in the final third has played a significant role in that dramatic drop-off in form. The Eagles have managed just 23 goals in 26 games – the joint worst record in the Premier League alongside Watford.

Jordan Ayew – their top scorer with six – averages a goal every 354 minutes, while Wilfried Zaha has only three in the league after scoring 10 last term.

So why this shortage of goals? Well, it cannot help that they simply do not shoot enough. Their tally of 247 efforts is the joint fewest in the top flight – level with Newcastle and Sheffield United having played a game more – and they also got the joint fewest on target – 79, level with Sheffield United.

Only once in their past 20 league outings have they managed more than four attempts on target.

The Blades are succeeding despite their lack of shots because they have been able to build from a solid base. Chris Wilder’s side have kept nine clean sheets in 2019-20 and only runaway leaders Liverpool have conceded fewer than their 23 goals.

While Palace’s defence has not been disastrous, they are struggling badly to shut opponents out.

Hodgson is renowned for his ability to make his teams tough to beat and the Eagles have generally been good at keeping things tight – only five sides in the division have conceded fewer than their 32 goals this season.

However, they are now without a clean sheet in their past 10 Premier League games, which is the worst run of any team.

Hodgson – hands tied or part of the problem?

The odds of Hodgson becoming the next manager to leave his position plummeted from 33-1 to 2-1 with some bookmakers last week.

That may have been in response to the club’s poor form, but it could also have been down to a possible contract stand-off between Palace and the former England boss.

The 72-year-old’s deal expires in the summer and talks over an extension have been ongoing for some time.

However, Hodgson is reportedly seeking assurances funds will be in place to overhaul his squad in the summer.