Talking Tactics: How Hodgson can the Eagles flying once again
Crystal Palace are enduring a worrying dip in form.
After a strong start to the season, the South Londoners have lost four of their last five in the Premier League and slipped to 13th.
Though relegation is unlikely to be a concern, the club's fans will be worried that things have started to stagnate under Roy Hodgson.
Ahead of this afternoon's clash with West Ham, we take a look at the issues plaguing the Eagles.
Hodgson has bemoaned Crystal Palace's extensive injury list, brandishing a piece of paper and reading out the names of absentees in a press conference before October's game against Nottingham Forest.
He said: "It's our injury list.
"There are so many at the moment that I forget. It's just in case I had forgotten."
But Palace's fitness issues will be fresh in Hodgson's mind going into today's match, after the news that Cheick Doucoure and Eberechi Eze are set for spells on the sidelines.
Both are key players for the side from Selhurst Park and Doucoure's Achilles injury could keep him out for several months.
The Eagles had been back to somewhere near full strength last weekend — but fell to a disappointing 2-1 defeat at Luton.
Disruption because of injuries in recent weeks will certainly not have helped, with Hodgson repeatedly forced to make changes to his starting XI.
He will hope that the situation improves in the coming weeks, so that Palace can play with greater continuity and consistency.
After some unexpectedly exciting football on Hodgson's return last season, the goals have dried up in 2023-24.
Palace have netted only 13 in 13 league games, with entertainment at a premium in Croydon.
A lack of any defined identity and the likelihood of another lower mid-table finish has prompted some existential questions for a club now in their 11th successive Premier League season.
Hodgson might justifiably point to the loss of Wilfried Zaha in the summer — and it is no coincidence that Palace have struggled to conjure opportunities this term, with only four teams creating fewer big chances than their 16.
They continue to set up as a counter-attacking side, averaging just 45.4% possession.
But the usually solid defensive foundations of Hodgson's teams have been lacking of late, with 11 goals conceded in their previous five matches.
To make progress and become a top-half Premier League team, the South London club will likely need to be less passive out of possession and more fluid in attack.
Hodgson has insisted Palace should not take their position as Premier League stalwarts for granted.
The Eagles boss last week used Charlton as an example of what can happen when clubs overreach in an attempt to move beyond mid-table obscurity.
He said: "I have spoken with the chairman at length and we agreed that we must be ambitious in getting the most out of such talent.
"As such, we have set ourselves the target of a top-half finish, which we believe is eminently achievable with such a fabulous group of players and the most magnificent supporters who get behind the team, week in, week out.”
As they prepare to face Forest, Palace must find the right balance between being more adventurous tactically and maintaining what they already have.