Jairo Riedewald opened the scoring as Crystal Palace cruised to a convincing 2-1 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday afternoon.
Roy Hodgson rang several changes as Luka Milivojevic returned to the starting line-up, which saw Cheikou Kouyate switch to the back four, whilst Mamadou Sakho dropped to the bench. But Riedewald arguably stole the show once again as the Eagles took a two-goal lead, with Wilfried Zaha adding the extra after the break, before they conceded a late strike in the last minute of added stoppage time.
Several players stood out from the rest, as both Batshuayi and Zaha more than played their part, with the two combining for Palace’s second goal of the day, but perhaps Riedewald deserves far more credit for his performance.
The 24-year-old, who arrived at Selhurst Park from Ajax on a five-year deal for an undisclosed fee in the summer of 2017, has had a tricky start to his time in the Premier League. He has copped fierce criticism from some supporters on several occasions so far, as he was criticised for his display during the 2-1 defeat to Brighton in the FA Cup in 2018.
In recent times, however, Riedewald appears to have rediscovered the form that saw him win the Eredivisie in 2014. He duly delivered in the A23 derby against Brighton last weekend and followed that up with another eye-catching performance against Fulham on Saturday.
Per SofaScore, he completed 21/22 passes at a pass accuracy rating of 95%, whilst he also won four out of eight ground duels, and made three tackles, one clearance and one interception, as well as scoring the opening goal, which shows that he is a useful attacking asset as well.
In comparison, the club captain could only manage one tackle, whilst he failed to register a single shot on target throughout the entire game, via SofaScore.
Sky Sports gave Riedewald a a high rating of 8/10, whilst football.london awarded him with the same score, claiming he looked “composed in possession, with Fulham looking to shut him down whenever he got on the ball. Another strong showing in midfield.”
With James McCarthy currently spending a spell on the sidelines, the Dutchman is staking his claim as a first-team regular starter. However, Hodgson could have a huge selection headache when McCarthy returns to match fitness. If Riedewald keeps performing on such a regular basis, who knows what will happen? We don’t envy him the decision, that’s for sure.
AND in other news, Crystal Palace ace Wilfried Zaha steals the show in style against Fulham…