This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Having been voted as the Man of the Match by Crystal Palace fans for his performance against Everton on the opening weekend, Jordan Ayew would quite rightly have expected to start the game against Sheffield United the following week.
However, that was not the case.
Want-away star Wilfried Zaha, who replaced Ayew from the bench against the Toffees, inexplicably took his place in the starting lineup against the Blades – we outlined why this decision from Roy Hodgson may have sent the wrong message to the squad given Zaha’s transfer antics in the window.
The Eagles consequently turned in a terrible performance collectively and ended up losing 1-0 to Chris Wilder’s men, a game which seemed to open Hodgson’s eyes a bit.
Christian Benteke, who demanded more ‘animation’ from his teammates after the Sheffield United loss, was dropped for the trip to Old Trafford, with Ayew rightly coming back into the side. It’s safe to say he let absolutely no-one down with his performance.
You would forgive the Ghana international for feeling a slight lack of motivation seeing as he was dropped despite a fine performance against Everton, but the former Swansea man reacted brilliantly to being reinstated into the side with a match-winning performance against Manchester United.
Ayew scored the game’s opening goal with one of the calmest finishes you’ll see, but that wasn’t all he contributed.
He also completed two dribbles as well as putting a shift in defensively, completing one tackle and winning three of his aerial duels up against Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof.
Having the right attitude and mentality is a big part of a footballer’s arsenal nowadays, and Ayew showed that he is a character who can be relied on despite suffering an unfair setback just a week earlier – let’s just hope he stays in the team for the next league game.