By Anthony Scales
Roy Hodgson spoke of his disappointment at seeing Palace concede twice at corners inside the opening 13 minutes at the Emirates on Saturday, and accepted he may not have emphasised Arsenal’s threat from set-pieces enough in the lead-up to the 4-1 defeat.
“I suppose that one thing we were maybe guilty of, in terms of our preparation, [was that] we didn’t flag up any more than usual their threat from set-plays,” said Hodgson during his post-mortem on a chastening reverse.
“We flag those things up for every team, we go through set-plays and what they do from them with our markers. This time, of course, we failed to bring that one off.
“I don’t think the players will tell you we conceded two goals and we didn’t know what was going to happen or what we should be doing, we conceded two goals because [Arsenal’s Nacho] Monreal lost his marker twice.
“All the goals that are scored from corners are due to two things: one, it has to be a good delivery – and we scored from one ourselves – and then of course the marking’s got to be right and you’ve got to hope that people who are marking don’t get on the wrong side of their player, or out-jumped in the air, or balls fall unkindly.
“It’s part and parcel of football and it doesn’t matter how much you talk every week on these things, goals will be scored from set-plays and every time they are people can mount criticism.”
Hodgson was unrepentant about his attacking formation at Arsenal, with Wilfried Zaha and Bakary Sako advancing alongside Christian Benteke in what amounted to a 4-3-3.
But the former England manager admitted asking Zaha to drop back into a four-man midfield, as he did in the 22nd minute after the Gunners’ fourth goal on Saturday, was a tweak he could have apllied earlier.
“I think we shut the door a little bit too late in playing more of a five-man midfield than a four-man midfield,” said Hodgson. “I would accept that maybe we should have done that from the start. But then of course, whether that would actually have stopped two corner kicks, I don’t know.”