Crystal Palace have made a fast start under new manager Patrick Vieira, and their plethora of new arrivals over the summer have played a pivotal part in the capital club’s success.
Vieira oversaw a successful squad rebuild in his first few months at the helm. Several experienced campaigners were released from the previously ageing squad, with a host of youthful acquisitions taking their place.
Amongst the fresh faces was 21-year-old Marc Guehi. The centre-back arrived from local rivals Chelsea via an £18m move, after impressing in the Championship last term.
The youngster featured 45 times for second-tier outfit Swansea City during a season-long loan, catching the eye of several impressed onlookers and cementing his place in the England U21 setup.
And in a Three Lions “Team-mates” video last term, some of his international colleagues appeared to be impressed by the imposing defender’s physical attributes.
“Easy, Marc Guehi. He’s an absolute tank,” Stoke City goalkeeper Josef Bursik said when asked to pick the strongest player in the England U21 squad. “It’s like having a brick wall in front of you, he’s massive.”
Conor Gallagher, who also arrived at Palace from Stamford Bridge over the summer, was another supporter of Guehi’s, saying: “Definitely Marc. You can’t get round him and you can’t move him, so it’s definitely him.”
But the 6-foot gem, valued at £18m by Transfermarkt, has showcased his technical ability and tactical intelligence in south London as well as his natural power.
Guehi has played every single minute of Palace’s Premier League campaign to date, forming a formidable partnership with Joachim Andersen at the heart of defence.
As per SofaScore, Guehi has racked up a whopping 37 clearances, won 40 of his 59 duels, made 13 tackles, eight interceptions and eight blocks, highlighting his hugely effective displays for Vieira’s charges.
His standout showings have helped Palace to claim famous victories over Tottenham Hotspur and reigning champions Manchester City already in 2021/22, and the Eagles supporters will be hoping for many more memorable results as the campaign progresses.