The Eagles boss saw him team cruise to victory in a one-sided affair that saw the hosts test trouble their opponents on 29 occasions without conceding a single shot on target, and strikes from James McArthur and Andros Townsend would ultimately ensure that another impressive display was matched by a maximum points haul on their own patch, something Hodgson admitted was ‘a long coming’.
Speaking in his post-match press conference, he discussed a number of topics, including:
First home win: “It feels good. It’s been a long time coming, and there’s been other home games where I’ve been equally impressed by the performance but we’ve been unlucky. We didn’t beat Arsenal when we were en-route to do so, and I thought we were going to do that against Tottenham Hotspur too, so that win has been in the shadows but just eluded us.
“Today it didn’t and certainly it would be a very curmudgeonly person who would have denied us the right to win this game. It’s not often you have almost 30 attempts on goal and nine on target, but to be quite frank nine of those that were off-target were a damn sight more dangerous.”
The bizarre first goal: “Funnily enough, that’s not strictly true. It’s the same as a wide free-kick and I’ve known about it for years; if you deliver those in from wider areas, you can aim between the goalkeeper and the far post and get people flying in across the goalkeeper, which makes it almost impossible for him to save it because he can’t move until the ball has gone past him.
“I’ve known that for many years, and in fact one of the most important goals in my career was scored in that way back in 1976 when Halmstads beat Elsfborg away from home!”
Concerned at missed chances?: “I was only because we are where we are in the league and the team’s performances haven’t got the points total that they merited. Had we had more points, then I wouldn’t have been, but this was the sort of game where we needed all three so it was important to get them by hook or by crook. In the end, we got them because we were clearly the better side from start to finish.”
Townsend’s goal: “We know he’s got it in his locker and we’ve seen that shot and move fail to succeed on quite a few occasions already. The ball has either gone wide or over the crossbar, or the goalkeeper has made a save, so it’s no surprise to me and I expect him when he cuts inside to produce that level of shot. It’s just a question of whether or not he can keep it on target, and if he can do that, if the goalkeeper can make a really good save.
“There were two or three occasions where Andros shot in that similar situation and produced excellent saves from the goalkeeper. Today it was just so good that I don’t think Joe Hart can be blamed in any way for letting that one in – it was a really, really good strike.”