Roy Hodgson will be delighted with the work of his players on Saturday afternoon against Newcastle, with Crystal Palace recording a 1-0 win.
In all fairness, they could have had far more – they had nine shots on target – but in the end, Patrick van Aanholt’s stunning free-kick was enough to see them over the line.
The Netherlands international was arguably the best player on the pitch, as his 8.8 SofaScore rating indicates, but Jordan Ayew wasn’t far behind. Up front, the Ghana international was an absolute menace – he completed all six of the dribbles he attempted, whilst he also won five fouls for his team.
He was also lively in front of goal, and whilst he will have been disappointed to not score from any of the seven shots he attempted, it at least showed he was willing to try his luck and his ability to get in the right positions.
Ayew has been in impressive form so far this campaign, scoring twice as many goals as any of his teammates with six. Incredibly, he was signed for just £2.5m last summer from Swansea City, after spending the previous campaign on loan at Selhurst Park – in today’s market, that is almost unheard of for a Premier League club.
Dougie Freedman seemingly has a very tight budget to work with at the London outfit. In the last five years, only four clubs have a lower net spend than Palace in the Premier League, whilst they are one of only three sides to make a profit from their transfer business this campaign.
Yet, they are still in the top tier, currently nine points clear of the relegation zone and as such, look as though they will stay up once more. Freedman appears to be looking to be shrewd with his spending, and with Ayew, he has done exactly that.