Crystal Palace have made an exciting start to life under Patrick Vieira, securing a 3-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur and playing an entertaining brand of football in the opening weeks of the Premier League campaign.
Much was made of the Eagles’ transfer business over the summer as they entered a fresh chapter of their recent history following the departure of Roy Hodgson, with the acquisitions of Joachim Andersen, Marc Guehi and Odsonne Edouard signalling a new era at Selhurst Park.
But one of their less talked about acquisitions could prove to be just as pivotal as the aforementioned stars after his promising showing over the weekend.
Teenage winger Michael Olise arrived from Championship outfit Reading for just £8m in July and is yet to make a start for Palace due to an injury.
However, the former France U18’s international made up for lost time on Sunday, bagging his first goal for the capital club with a stunning volley against Leicester City, scoring only eight minutes after coming off the substitutes bench.
Olise’s memorable showing in south London on Sunday caught the attention of several impressed onlookers, including that of his manager.
“I think we are all really excited about his talent,” Vieira said after the 2-2 draw with Leicester. “But at the same time, we have to understand it will take time to be a Premier League player.
“He is working really well, working really hard, and he is in a good football club who will support him to develop himself. It’s just about him keeping working. He’s working in training, he can score goals as he showed today.
“It is a long season, so he will definitely play some games, but we have to give him time as well to develop himself. He had a long injury, and he is not at his best yet, but he is improving, and he will be a really important player for us.”
Despite Vieira’s cautious tone, the time has come for the French boss to unleash his compatriot on the biggest of stages.
Struggling forward Jordan Ayew last scored a Premier League goal on 7 November 2020, and the 30-year-old looks bereft of confidence in front of goal, hampering Palace’s attacks.
But confidence is a quality that Olise has never lacked. Former Royals teammate Sam Baldock outlined the youngster’s self-belief following an outstanding showing against Nottingham Forest last term.
“Michael is a real talent, he’ll get on the ball in any situation. He’s fearless, if you ask him today, I’ll guarantee that he had no nerves,” the striker revealed.
With a vulnerable Arsenal side coming up after the international break for Palace, Olise’s youthful self-assurance, technical ability and pace could cause the Gunners a whole host of problems; Vieira just needs to be brave enough to give him a chance.