Things could hardly be better for Crystal Palace right now, with Patrick Vieira’s charges enjoying a fabulous start to life in the new Premier League campaign.
The 45-year-old tactician has guided his new-look side to tenth place in the top-flight table after overseeing a six-game unbeaten run, with victories over Tottenham Hotspur and reigning champions Manchester City particular highlights.
And while the extremely impressive duo of Wilfried Zaha and Conor Gallagher have claimed most of the plaudits in the opening weeks of the campaign, veteran midfielder James McArthur has quietly been putting in a string of outstanding displays.
It appeared as if the diminutive gem’s days at Palace were numbered after he was ruled out of action from January through injury, missing the capital club’s final 18 league fixtures of 2020/21.
However, the former Scotland international has arguably taken his game to another level this season, despite being 34 years old.
As per SofaScore, McArthur has won a whopping 61 duels after starting all 11 of Palace’s Premier League fixtures, created three big chances, made 25 tackles, 13 interceptions, threaded seven key passes and achieved a passing accuracy of 83%.
His eye-catching displays in the capital club’s engine room have gone unnoticed by many, but they’ve certainly caught the eye of his manager, with Vieira labelling him a ‘warrior’.
“He is valuable, he’s our captain, and so he has a responsibility to bring his leadership to the squad,” said the Frenchman after Saturday’s victory over Wolves.
“He’s a fighter, he’s a warrior, he’s the benchmark for a professional. This is the same in training, he is no different.”
Maintaining their current levels will be the aim for both Palace and McArthur from now until the end of the campaign, but the Scotsman is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon.