This is something that fans at Selhurst Park have recognised for a long time, but creativity at Crystal Palace is lacking. It is something that needs addressing drastically, as it could be what takes them to the next level.
Crystal Palace Void of Creativity Under Roy Hodgson
Midfield Changes Needed
It is no secret Roy Hodgson has his favourites. He keeps a tight-knit squad, often opting to make as few changes as possible. However, his first 11 is bereft of quality, and it is his reluctance to change it that it is blocking Palace’s move to the next level.
Max Meyer and Victor Camarasa certainly can be answers, but it is yet to be discovered whether they can answer the question. Can they be the one to cure the constant creative problems from open play at Selhurst Park? Meyer has now been with Crystal Palace for over a year, yet has never seen an extended run in the starting line-up. While stats do not suggest it – taking one goal and two assists from 31 appearances – the 24-year-old has shown he has what it takes to fill the void of creativity.
Meanwhile, there are still high hopes held for summer signing Victor Camarasa. There was positive intent from his signing after he demonstrated his impeccable qualities on loan at Cardiff City last season. However, the Spaniard feels like a ghost figure at Selhurst Park. A five-minute cameo in the opening game of the season, as well as an appearance in the Carabao Cup, is the extent of his action.
It shows that Roy Hodgson is yet to be infatuated with a desire to play either of his most creative, which maybe means that void of creativity lies deeper than personnel at Crystal Palace.
Wrong Formation? Or Wrong Players Selected?
A mixture of the two, yes, but Roy Hodgson continues to select the wrong formation. The Crystal Palace manager switches between a 4-4-2 and a 4-4-3. While the latter suits the Eagles better, selecting three defensive midfielders does not suit the side, nor does it suit their best creative players.
As a result, a switch in style and formation could be beneficial. Palace, for so long, have tried to implement a style that does not suit them; partly to try and fit their club-record signing Christian Benteke into the side, and partly due to a shift in the regime. Hodgson is rigid in which formations he plays and who he selects. Understandably, it keeps familiarity in the team, however, change from 4-3-3 is needed.
A move back to 4-2-3-1 would be more beneficial for this current side lacking in a creative midfielder. The empty hole of a creative mastermind has not been filled since Yohan Cabaye left at the end of the 2017/18 season. Cabaye – now with Saint Etienne in France – fluctuated between attacking midfield and defensive midfield, but was the catalyst of a side who were fascinating to watch on the counter. As a result, it is time that Palace now find a replacement for the Frenchman, and the answer lies within their own squad and a change of personnel.
Future Planning Can Cure the Void of Creativity at Crystal Palace
Future planning can come in two aspects: transfer targets, and a change of manager.
While it is the former that should often come first, it is, in fact, the change of manager that needs to be the priority. Roy Hodgson is now 72 years old and will most likely be leaving at the end of his contract in 2020. As a result, those in the upper echelons of the club need to plan ahead of who their next manager will be. A young, forward-thinking manager who will get the best out of the attacking players will most likely be the aim.
Meanwhile, transfer targets lie in the background. Crystal Palace, for the past three transfer windows, have been cautious in their spending. They have stagnated to a degree, and have also not seen a successful attacking midfielder sign. Under a new manager, they relinquished to fill the void of creativity.