But then something clicked.
Stoke supporters would not have been anticipating a relegation battle at the start of the season, but it is hard to argue they deserved anything other than demotion after a dire campaign. But the Ivorian's return against Chelsea brought a new lease of life into Palace, and the winger started to prove his worth from there.
Hodgson is looking up and a top-half finish looks entirely possible with games against Stoke on Saturday and West Brom next weekend to come.
Joao Mario's 34th-minute opener put David Moyes' side on course for their first win in five games, the Portuguese's tap-in giving the visitors a deserved half-time lead at the King Power Stadium.
Zaha, Benteke and Loftus-Cheek all had decent chances to add to the scoreline as the Eagles pressed for a second goal.
He is certainly one of the most entertaining - 67 per cent of his 21 Premier League goals have come from outside the penalty area.
Palace have registered six wins in their last seven meetings with Stoke in all competitions.
Luka Milivojevic is the heartbeat of this Palace side and he needs to have a solid game for his side to take anything from this tie.
"To get over 40 points is good".
Stoke's first opening came midway through the first half when Mame Biram Diouf headed well wide after Shaqiri's teasing cross had found him unmarked 10 yards out.
The club gained promotion to Premier League in May 2008 and now relegated May, 2018. No team in the division has conceded more goals than the Potters (67), while they have often been far too reliant on Shaqiri's moments of magic in the final third.
"I empathise with Stoke today, it's a very tough day".
A draw would not realistically have been enough to save Stoke City but their fate was sealed with Shawcross' mistake.
There are three games tomorrow.
But the latest lead to be squandered will be their worst, as they were beaten by Palace on Saturday after being 1-0 up, ending their time in the Premier League. "Great club with great fans", he tweeted.
However, the 25-year-old worked his way into the first team, and it wasn't long before he was in the England set-up.