Well, after a summer of significant change, we all saw much of the same from Crystal Palace as the Eagles succumbed to a 3-0 defeat to Chelsea.
It was a typical Roy Hodgson performance, albeit without the 74-year-old roaming the dugout this time – however, that should not be a concern.
There were glimpses of change, and it must not be forgotten that it was a Hodgson XI but for the inclusion of Marc Guéhi.
Specifically, one moment in the 57th minute gave us plenty to be encouraged about.
Joachim Andersen and Patrick Vieira’s tactical switch
As Joachim Andersen jogged on for his Crystal Palace debut in the 57th minute, he could be seen holding five fingers up to his teammates.
Seconds later, those in yellow reverted to a back five, and almost immediately, we seemed to have moved up the pitch by a substantial amount.
Cheikhou Kouyate, Andersen and Guéhi’s presence allowed Tyrick Mitchell and Joel Ward to push on, which in turn led to those upfront pushing on as well.
From that point on, Vieira must have been pleased to see us threaten the European champions a bit more.
Also, it must be noted that Andersen’s passing range will be of monumental importance to us this season.
The Dane only played 33 minutes, but he found a teammate on numerous occasions with his raking long-range switches, which enabled us to get into promising areas in behind Chelsea’s backline.
Patrick Vieira’s tactical fluidity was intriguing
At times last season, it felt as if Hodgson didn’t even have a Plan A, let alone a Plan B, so it’s great to see Vieira switch the system up mid-game.
Having that fluidity will help us adapt to different opponents throughout the season, and will also make it harder for opposition managers to do their pre-match research on us.
It was, without a doubt, a difficult start in west London. However, context is needed – it’s far from a nightmare scenario.
Eberechi Eze, Michael Olise, Conor Gallagher and Luka Milivojevic were all missing, while there should still be a few more incomings.
We even got to see Jesurun Rak-Sakyi make his Premier League debut, which was brilliant to witness.
The future is bright – don’t let a defeat to the champions of Europe of all clubs make you forget that fact.