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Why Graham Potter could be the perfect fit to succeed Roy Hodgson

Crystal Palace have identified former Chelsea and Brighton manager Graham Potter as a replacement for Roy Hodgson.

Hodgson was brought in to steady the ship late into the 2022-23 season after Patrick Vieira’s sacking, the culmination of a winless start to 2023 in which Palace lost six and drew five of 11 games.

When 75-year-old Hodgson returned, the Eagles sat three points above the relegation zone and they ultimately finished 11 points clear of the drop by the end of the season. His contract expires in June.

When asked after the final game of the campaign against Nottingham Forest whether he would be staying, Hodgson replied: “I have no idea. My situation is very simple. I took on a job, I was pleased to take on the job.

“The mandate was a simple one, to come in and help the team to get the number of points we need to stay in the league. That’s what I’ve done and what I’ve enjoyed doing.

“I’m not prepared to make any comment like that”, he added when the scenario of a contract extension was put towards him. “Before I start talking about whether I want to stay anywhere or take on any jobs, someone better offer me one.”

What would Potter bring to Palace?

Potter has been sought out because he is highly adaptable, using a variety of formations depending on the opponent. At Brighton he typically he used a three-man defence but would also switch to a 4-2-3-1, which he used seven times in all competitions in 2021-22.

Similarly to Brighton, Crystal Palace have limited spending power but hope Potter would be able to transform the style of their existing squad.

The Brighton side he took over from Chris Hughton were used to deploying sturdy low blocks but Potter led their evolution into a ball-playing, high intensity team.

Palace’s squad already boasts great talent, from the centre-back pairing of Joachim Andersen and Marc Guehi to the creativity and flair of Michael Olise and Eberechi Eze.

Potter’s dented reputation

However, Potter’s CV has been affected more recently by the fact he lasted just seven months at Chelsea. He only managed to win seven of his 22 league games in west London, with a point-per-game rate of 1.27.

He could not stop the mudslide that was already underway as Thomas Tuchel was sacked by new owner Todd Boehly. Even with a massive January transfer window spend of beyond £320m bringing in the likes of Enzo Fernandez and Mykhailo Mudryk, their problems only worsened. The squad became more bloated – the changing room could not even host all their squad members.

Potter never settled on a starting XI, using 32 players in the league, more than any side other than Nottingham Forest. Potter may be adaptable but would need to establish some familiarity first. Throughout his time in the Premier League, there has been one negative too – the inability to cash in on expected goals (xG). His time at Chelsea magnified this, as they racked up 39.2 xG from all non-penalty shots in all competitions, but only netting 28.

But with the news that Mauricio Pochettino has taken over from Frank Lampard as Chelsea boss, it may become clearer how difficult a task Potter was handed under Boehly. He may not have been the Ferrari the US owner wanted but he is still a BMW – and that could suit Palace perfectly.

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