In the recent 2-1 defeat to arch-rivals Brighton, Crystal Palace left-back Patrick van Aanholt turned in a performance of the lowest quality, which was summed up by his foolish decision to show Anthony Knockaert onto his strong foot for the Frenchman to score the winning goal.
The Dutch international’s poor showing against the Seagulls wasn’t the first bad performance of his this season. Van Aanholt’s defensive skills have been brought into question a number of times this season, and it seems like his ability to pop up with a few goals over the course of the campaign masks his frailties at the back.
He seems to get away with any real criticism as a result of his popularity at the club, coupled with the fact that Wilfried Zaha often plays ahead of him on the left-wing and consequently takes the weight off van Aanholt by occupying the opposition’s right-back and right-winger.
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One of the big debates that has often been on the lips of those inside Selhurst Park this season is how to accommodate summer signing Max Meyer into the starting lineup.
Roy Hodgson is a big fan of James McArthur and has been playing the Scotsman over the German, whilst Jeffrey Schlupp has been a consistent feature on the left of a midfield three, leaving Meyer stuck on the bench.
One way to solve this conundrum, and hopefully give van Aanholt the kick up the backside he needs, would be to drop Schlupp into a left-back role where he has played in the past, and bring Meyer into the Ghanaian’s vacated midfield spot.
Schlupp has impressed on the left hand side of defence in the past, where his pace, power and drive down the left flank is a useful outlet – he is also a much more solid and physical option defensively than the flimsy van Aanholt.