Crystal Palace took a huge stride in the right direction after scoring their first goals from open play at home this season in their 2-0 victory over a sub-par Burnley at the weekend. While Andros Townsend stole the show with a thunderbolt of a strike, Max Meyer was integral to his side’s creation and deservedly scooped the fan-voted man of the match award.
After choosing to run down his contract at Schalke and thus making a switch to the Premier League, the diminutive midfielder was surely regarded as one of the coups of the window and as the man to ease the pain induced by Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s return to Chelsea.
The German once linked with Arsenal had previously failed to live up to the hype that preceded his arrival in south London as Roy Hodgson elected to leave him on the bench until October 1, when he finally made his first Palace start in a 2-1 loss to Bournemouth.
Then, as the Eagles gritted their teeth through a November from hell as they were met by all of Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs and Manchester United, the 23-year-old became a mainstay in the line-up but failed to have an impact worthy of discussion against any of the aforementioned giants.
That is until Sean Dyche’s Burnley visited Selhurst Park in a Saturday six-pointer – the number 7 looked threatening right from the first whistle as the 2013/2014 Championship play-off winners took the Clarets to the cleaners.
Registering two of his four shots early on as he brought the best of Joe Hart before curling just wide, the starlet seemed hungry to score his first competitive goal in red and blue and was unlucky not to as the former England number one showed the world that he’s still more than capable between the sticks.
Crucial to his side’s penetration, Meyer’s five key passes illustrated his ability to receive the ball with perfect control and pick his head up before finding a defence-splitting delivery, and this was unrivalled in the Palace ranks. This kind of vision and technical ability is what the Eagles so desperately needed to secure in the transfer window as Yohan Cabaye left for Saudi Arabia – right now the blonde-haired maestro looks fully capable of filling the Frenchman’s chaussures.
Much like Cabaye, the 5-foot-8 technician is far from afraid to put a foot in and do the dirty work – he completed two tackles and an interception as he regained possession for his team effectively and prevented Burnley from countering.
His two successful dribbles also show he is willing to run at and take on his man and it is this which can make him so endearing to the SE25 faithful who were thrilled all season long last year by Loftus-Cheek’s quick feet.
Palace’s midfield is full of steel and industry but there is no one in the squad that can connect the dots like Meyer can – this may be the boost the young midfielder needs to really take off.
Playmaker FC’s Matchday with Max caught up with Jamaica’s women’s team. See what happened when he met the history makers in the video below…