A week is a long time in football, and Crystal Palace’s issues up front have miraculously healed themselves in fewer than seven days.
Then, on Tuesday, Mateta scored a hat-trick in Palace’s 4-0 EFL Cup win at Plymouth, convincing the club to keep the Frenchman.
Palace kept pushing to sign Leicester’s Kelechi Iheanacho or Paris Saint-Germain’s Hugo Ekitike right up until deadline day, but missed out on both.
And then on Sunday, Edouard scored a brace and Mateta assisted twice off the bench as the Eagles beat Wolves 3-2 at Selhurst Park.
After modest tallies of six and then five Premier League goals in the last two seasons, Edouard already has three in four league matches this term.
Mateta, meanwhile, entered the new campaign with eight goals in 58 Premier League games over the last two-and-a-half seasons. For much of last season, Mateta’s performances and body language pointed to a near-certain summer exit.
But his two assists against Wolves were vital contributions, just as his hat-trick at Plymouth convinced chairman Steve Parish and sporting director Dougie Freedman to stick rather than twist.
“That’s why we kept him”, Hodgson said on Sunday. “He’s not been getting regular game time, so he would have been very keen to try his luck elsewhere.
“You try and find space for [squad players]. At Plymouth there was a space and here there was a space. On both occasions, JP held his hand up and said: ‘You’ve given me a chance, now look what I can do.’
“He’s got to keep that going, keep fighting for a place in the team, and he’s got to deliver.”
One of Hodgson’s great strengths during his previous stint at Palace was getting players to do just that: deliver. In Hodgson’s four seasons between 2017 and 2021, the veteran got a tune out of most players.
Despite a small first-team squad of 26 players, Palace fans can trust most of the regulars to produce dependable displays each week — particularly the defenders.
Joel Ward, Marc Guehi and Joachim Andersen were excellent last season and have carried that form into the new campaign. Tyrick Mitchell is showing signs of returning to his 2021/22 best, following a below-par spell last term.
After losing Wilfried Zaha, it will no doubt prove pivotal over the season that Palace were able to fend off interest in Eberechi Eze, Cheick Doucoure and Michael Olise.
And they have bought more shrewdly than most. Jefferson Lerma was a free agent and Arsenal centre-back Rob Holding arrived for just £4million, while Dean Henderson will push Sam Johnstone for the No1 shirt.
Matheus Franca, who cost £26m, is yet to make his debut as he builds up fitness but big things are expected of the 19-year-old. And big things are expected of Palace. They have started well.