For a striker, Jordan Ayew doesn’t score a lot of goals: 15 goals in 55 appearances for the Black Stars isn’t the worst return at international level; but only exceeding 10 league goals once in 12 seasons as a professional isn’t exactly making Ayew synonymous with the word prolific.
Yet, Ayew is about much more than goals, and his importance to Crystal Palace has not gone unnoticed by the fans, and his manager, Roy Hodgson. Ayew has become the focal point for Palace’s attack, not the endpoint. The Ghanaian will often win the ball in midfield, driving forward and holding the ball up when necessary. In short, he offers much more than just goals.
The Crystal Palace boss recently said: “He said: “I am very impressed with Jordan, the way he had such a good tournament in Africa Cup of Nations and came back virtually without any rest at all and immediately threw himself into pre-season.”
The Ghanaian scored his 4th league goal of the season against Arsenal at the weekend. He is given odds of 200/1 by BetVictor to be the Premier League’s top scorer. Frankly, the bookies are correct – it’s a ridiculous longshot, and Ayew is already four goals behind the 7/2 favourite for the Golden Boot, Sergio Aguero. Yet, Ayew has scored 40% of Palace’s goals. More importantly, he is becoming the type of player who scores important goals for his team.
Those were glowing words from the manager in mid-September, and Ayew has pushed along to nicely to be a huge part of Crystal Palace’s fine start to the season. At the time of writing, Palace are in sixth position ahead of the traditional heavyweights like Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United. The struggles of those sides opens the door somewhat for other clubs looking to secure Champions League football, and Palace might have some backers at odds of 100/1 (William Hill) to nick one of those positions.
Palace Season Could be at a Crossroads
Like Ayew’s performances this season, his team’s lofty position is something of a surprise. Yet, as we saw with the recent defeat to Manchester City, the team has still a long way to go. Indeed, the players and management are still talking about avoiding relegation as the main ambition this season.
According to bookmakers, the prospect of relegation seems remote, given odds of 15/2 by Betfair. but Crystal Palace have some tough fixtures (including Liverpool and Chelsea) in the coming weeks. 1/6 is the price for Crystal Palace to avoid relegation, but it’s worth remembering we are just 10 games into the new season.
Yet, Crystal Palace fans are looking on the bright side. A Top 6 finish in the league is given odds of 20/1 by Bet365, perhaps worth a shot using one of these best UK betting offers for new & existing customers. More realistic might be the Top 10 finish, which is given fantastic odds of 2/1 by Betfair.
Ayew Has Answered Critics
Ayew spent most of last season on loan from Swansea City, before Palace made the signing permanent with a £2.5 million deal. To be frank, fans of the London club were pretty disheartened at the news, hoping instead that the management would splash out on some more ambitious signings. That didn’t materialise, and many expected Crystal Palace to struggle as a result.
Yet, Ayew’s strong start to the season, coupled with a strong defence, have really steadied the ship at Crystal Palace. Sitting pretty in 6th spot as the Premier League really begins to take shape is quite the feat for a team that has been outmuscled in the transfer market. The big performances from Jordan Ayew, as well as fellow Ghanaian Jeffrey Schlupp, have played a vital role in this success. Fans of the Eagles will be hoping this continues into the winter months and beyond.