Zaha’s form thrills Hodgson

Roy Hodgson is so pleased with Wilfried Zaha's form that he thinks the Crystal Palace star can be as good a player as Alexis Sanchez and Eden Hazard.

The 25-year-old scored twice on Saturday as the Eagles secured a vital 3-2 victory against Brighton.

The result lifted Palace above Swansea and up to 16th in the Premier League table, six points clear of the bottom three.

Hodgson said of former Manchester United star Zaha: "We can't ask any more than what he's giving us.

"His dribbling ability and ability on the ball has been very good for a long time, so what step can he take to get himself up there recognised like Sanchez, like Eden Hazard is recognised at Chelsea?

"What's he going to do to make that step? With his qualities, he can take that step and become even better.

"Wilf has been in superb form this season, and last season towards the end too. We had to take off Ruben Loftus-Cheek for the last 10 minutes as he cramped up, but his performance was fantastic as well."

Palace are 31/20 to win their next match on Saturday at Vicarage Road against Watford while Brighton are now 8/1 to be relegated this season.

Hodgson ponders his options

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson could restore Christian Benteke to his starting line-up for Saturday's crunch clash against Brighton.

The 27-year-old Belgium international, who has struggled to find his best form all season, missed last weekend's 2-2 draw with Bournemouth because of a groin injury and it was suggested that the Eagles looked a better outfit in his absence.

However, Hodgson remains a big fan of the former Aston Villa and Liverpool striker, who has only scored twice in the Premier League this term – against Leicester City and West Ham United.

With five games remaining, Palace are one place and three points above the bottom three with Brighton four points better off in 13th place and with a game in hand.

However, the Seagulls have a very hard run-in and can be backed at 16/1 to be relegated this season, while Palace are 11/2 to win Saturday's game 1-0.

"As far as we are concerned, these last five games have enormous importance irrespective of who we play," Hodgson said.

"But given the fact that it is Brighton and there is this enormous rivalry between the two teams I can't deny it gives it an extra edge.

"We must not allow our hearts to rule our heads to the extent that we make mistakes tactically or by showing too much emotion which maybe leads to a player getting booked or sent off which can happen in these derby games.

"Alexander Sorloth trained for the first time on Thursday and came through the session well while Christian Benteke has made enormous progress."

Hodgson insists Eagles will stay up

Roy Hodgson is confident that his Crystal Palace side will avoid relegation after being impressed with their tenacity in Saturday's 2-2 draw with Bournemouth.

The Eagles are three points clear of the bottom three before Sunday's matches and almost beat Bournemouth who scored an 89th-minute equaliser courtesy of substitute Josh King.

"It's going to be a dogfight with all the teams down there," said former England manager Hodgson afterwards.

"It can boil down to the fact that you score some lucky goals or survive some really hairy escapes.

"But if we can continue to play like that for the next five games we have to believe we can take enough points. I have confidence in the team and the team showed they have confidence in themselves."

Palace have only won one of their last 10 league matches and are 8/1 to be relegated this season while Southampton are 11/10 to go down and Stoke City 1/5.

Luka Milivojevic gave Palace the lead after the interval but the Cherries equalised when Lys Mousset netted. Wilfried Zaha restored the Eagles' advantage only for King to bundle home the last-gasp equaliser for Eddie Howe's side.

Hodgson says Palace not wallowing

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson insists that he and his side are not wallowing despite a spate of narrow defeats.

The Eagles performed well in their recent home games against Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool but ended up with no points for their efforts.

All three were lost by late goals, most recently Mo Salah scoring for Liverpool last weekend to leave Palace close to the relegation zone.

They are precariously placed just one place above the bottom three with Southampton, third bottom, two points behind and having a game in hand on the Eagles.

So, those three recent defeats have been costly but, with six games of the season remaining, Hodgson insists they are in the past, there is no wallowing, with the team fully focussed on the games to come.

He told local media: "Our focus has to remain on the performances, and not get too caught up on having a bit of bad luck, and start feeling sorry for ourselves about not getting the results we felt we deserved in games.

"But that is all part and parcel of football, so we have to make certain that the good things we did [against Liverpool] – and I thought there were some good things last week too, we have to make sure we keep doing those things in the next six games."

Palace are next in action away at Bournemouth on Saturday and play Brighton, Watford, Leicester, Stoke and West Brom before the end of the season.

The Eagles are 15/8 to win on Saturday. Eddie Howe's side are almost safe from the drop and they are 6/4 for the three points with the draw priced at 11/5.

Palace are 1/10 to escape relegation at the end of the season.

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Salah secures Reds win

Mohamed Salah yet again proved the difference as Liverpool came from behind to win 2-1 at Crystal Palace.

Luka Milivojevic converted from the penalty spot early in the first half to give Palace the lead after goalkeeper Loris Karius took out Wilfried Zaha.

Sadio Mane, fortunate not to have been red-carded by that stage, turned in James Milner's cross shortly after the break to level matters.

It was the home side that engineered most after that, with former Liverpool striker Christian Benteke passing up to presentable chances.

They were made to rue those six minutes from the end when Salah showed superb composure inside the box to cushion Andy Robertson's pass into space with his left foot and finish with his right past Wayne Hennessy.

It was Salah's 29th Premier League goal of the season – equalling the league record of scoring in 21 matches in a 38-game season with six games to spare.

The win was a timely boost for Liverpool, they host Manchester City in the quarter-finals of the Champions League on Wednesday evening.

The Reds are 19/10 to win that game, with City priced at 7/5 and the draw 12/5.

Liverpool beat Man City 4-3 in the league at Anfield in January, with a repeat of that scoreline priced at 80/1.

Jurgen Klopp admitted that he wasn't surprised by his team having to scrap for three points at Selhurst Park.

"It is usual for us that we need to fight here, especially after a difficult start, but it makes it more special at the end. The win was deserved," said the Liverpool boss.

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Hodgson rues Schlupp setback

Roy Hodgson fears that Jeffrey Schlupp, James Tomkins and Alexander Sorloth will all miss Crystal Palace's clash against Liverpool this weekend.

Schlupp picked up an injury in the closing stages of the 2-0 victory at Huddersfield Town a fortnight ago and joins former West Ham defender Tomkins and January signing Sorloth on the injury list.

"We were very disappointed to lose Jeffrey Schlupp in the last game, as he was out for a long time after the Brighton injury and did so well to get back," said Hodgson.

"We still have doubts on Tomkins and Sorloth, so we will check them on Friday but they are very much doubts."

However, Hodgson is relieved that Wilfried Zaha should be fit enough to face the Reds after the former Manchester United winger had to withdraw from the Ivory Coast squad earlier this month.

The former England boss added: "Luckily all the others reported back. Zaha hasn't been training to any great extent as we're nursing the knee problem that he has. We've had to be very cautious as he came back from his injury much earlier than he should have done."

Connor Wickham played for Palace's Under-23 side on Tuesday but picked up a groin injury during training on Thursday.

Palace are 5/1 to beat Liverpool on Saturday and 7/1 to keep a clean sheet against Jurgen Klopp's side. The Eagles are 1/9 not to be relegated this season.

Hodgson pleased to arrest slide

Roy Hodgson said he was relieved to be over a tough run of fixtures as Crystal Palace moved out of the Premier League's bottom three.

A 2-0 win away at fellow strugglers Huddersfield Town moved the Eagles out of the relegation zone where they were replaced by Southampton.

A run of four consecutive defeats in the league had seen Hodgson's side drop back into the bottom three.

However, those game were against Everton, Tottenham, Manchester United and Chelsea. After a home game against Liverpool to come they then embark on a series of games with teams closer to them in the table.

They will do so heartened by this victory over the Terriers with James Tomkins giving them a first half lead and a Luka Milivojevic penalty securing the three points.

It is a result that moves Palace up to two points clear of the drop zone and just behind Huddersfield.

Hodgson said he was happy with the win and that a particularly tough set of fixtures were over.

He told the BBC: "It is vitally important. All the points teams get down near the bottom are vital. We have had a difficult run of games and not got any points but to get something here at least puts us back in some sort of equilibrium.

"I don't think I have ever had a feeling we are on a slide. We are getting players back to fitness and our squad is looking like what it was when we were getting results."

"We are happier now to be playing teams where at least we are not having to come across the sort of quality we have in the last two or three weeks."

On an FA Cup weekend Palace were the big winners in the bottom half of the table. West Brom stay rooted to the bottom, taking the lead at Bournemouth but the Cherries edged nearer to safety, winning 2-1 while Everton won away at Stoke.

Palace are 13/2 to beat Liverpool who are 2/5 with the draw priced at 7/2.

Palace are 40/1 to win the game 2-0.

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Hodgson welcomes selection options

Crystal Palace are set to be boosted by a number of key players returning from injury for a hugely important Premier League trip to Huddersfield Town.

The Eagles, who have suffered with a lengthy injury list for much of the campaign, could have Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Yohan Cabaye and Mamadou Sakho all available to face the Terriers.

Even more importantly, star forward Wilfried Zaha is set to start against Town, having impressed as a substitute in the 2-1 defeat at Chelsea last weekend, which was the Eagles' fourth consecutive league loss.

And Palace boss Roy Hodgson is delighted to finally have a number of options at his disposal, especially given his side have not picked up a single point this season in the absence of Zaha.

He told reporters: "It's the first time for a long time that we're looking at a fuller squad, if not a totally full squad, so we're very happy about that.

"The points tally (without Zaha) is well-documented. We don't get as many when he's not playing and don't score as many goals.

"Obviously we miss him, so it will be very good to get him back on the field. He came on at half-time at Chelsea and did extremely well when he came on."

Palace will be out to avenge a 3-0 home defeat to the Terriers on the opening day of the season, although they did that partially by securing a 1-0 League Cup win over Town just over a month later.

The visitors are 17/10 to claim a much-needed victory on Saturday and are 7/1 to win by a 1-0 scoreline, with the Eagles 3/10 not to be relegated come the end of the season.

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Hodgson weighs up Zaha return

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson admits he has a tricky balancing act to perform over when to reintroduce Wilfried Zaha back into the first-team fold.

A knee problem sustained in a 1-1 draw with Newcastle United has kept Ivory Coast forward Zaha on the sidelines for just over a month, but he is making quicker than expected progress in his recovery and has returned to training with the team this week.

However, Hodgson said ahead of a Saturday Premier League clash with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge that he would be careful about when to bring Zaha back into the fold, even with the Eagles battling to avoid relegation.

He told reporters: "Wilf's had a ball at his feet for a while, training solo with the rehab people and the physios.

"He joined in with the team today (Thursday) in an albeit modified session. He's well ahead of schedule, but it was a serious injury and it's a remarkable recovery.

"It will be a case of discussing with him, the doctor and the physios regarding when he's ready to come back. It's a major positive.

"All teams rely upon their decisive players, so when you have a player out for any length of time there's always a risk you'll push for him to come back earlier than he should.

"That's the balance I've got to get right."

Palace are currently available at 7/4 to be relegated this season, with Southampton priced at 11/4 and West Ham 9/2.

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Hodgson looks to the positives

Roy Hodgson remains convinced that his Crystal Palace side will not be relegated this season even after Monday's heartbreaking 3-2 loss to Manchester United.

The Eagles are in the bottom three and without a victory in six top-flight games despite producing a spirited performance at Selhurst Park against Jose Mourinho's team.

Goals from Andros Townsend and Patrick van Aanholt had given Palace a 2-0 lead but United hit back to equalise through Chris Smalling and Romelu Lukaku before Nemanja Matic netted the winner in stoppage time from 30 yards out.

"Sadness. Total sadness," Hodgson said after the game. "I'm proud of the performance and I can't criticise any player for the effort or the work they put in.

"We're in the relegation zone, but after seven games everyone told me that we were relegated. At the moment we aren't relegated, we're in the relegation zone, so I think that's a positive.

"We were eight points adrift of any sort of safety, now I think we're one point adrift of safety and there's lots of games to go.

"I don't think I should need convincing that the team has qualities. The team has determination and enormous fighting spirit."

Palace are 7/4 to be relegated this season and 10/1 to beat Chelsea in their next Premier League fixture at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.