The evolution of Jordan Ayew has left Palace fans purring so far this season.
The Ghanaian looks a completely different player to the bit part striker from last season and it seems his £2.5 million move from Swansea in the summer is proving to be an absolute coup for the club.
Ayew seemed to fit the mould of countless Palace strikers of recent history during his loan spell last season. We’ve seen it before with the likes of Friazer Campbell, Calvin Andrew, Cameron Jerome, Aaron Wilbraham etc - hard working, but lacking that instinct and quality of a top striker.
The cutting edge just wasn’t there. With 0.05 goals per match and an 11% shooting accuracy in the Premier League last year, it was understandable that fans weren’t convinced by the Ghanaian international.
There were spells of heroism from the 27-year-old though. Fans warmed to Ayew after his decisive goal against Wolves at start of the year and his emotional celebration highlighted his underlying determination. The physical relief from the striker’s reaction after netting his first goal for the club was clear to see and this reaction certainly struck a chord with the fans.
Hope grew that Ayew would begin a serious scoring streak when he netted another winner in the 1-0 victory over Grimsby in the FA Cup just days later. He was the saviour here after a blunt display where his goal was well appreciated by the crowd.
Expectations began to rise for the striker, but It seemed as though the purple patch was very very short lived. Ayew then went through the rest of the season without scoring and only provided one assist in his remaining nine appearances in all competitions.
Ayew was never given a complete run on games for the majority of the 18/19 season which may suggest why we never saw a consistent performer as he only made 16 starts, nine appearances as a substitute and was unused 20 times in all competitions. It was clear that Ayew had ability from his Aston Villa and Swansea days in the Premier League, scoring fifteen goals over three seasons. Admittedly, not an astonishing return, but we expected more last season.
It was no surprise that Ayew was on of our first singings of the summer transfer window for and estimated £2.5 million. Fans were pleased with the strikers return, many predicted he would be a useful addition to the squad. But there was not a huge amount of excitement about what he would bring for the season and many would have anticipated him being on the bench for much of the season.
This makes his electric start even more surprising. He has impressed and deserved his place in the starting line-up for three of the four opening games as his relentless running, energy, hold up play, working the channels, being a pest for opposition defenders has been incredible.
The striker has two goals from three matches, a return of 0.66 per game and his shooting accuracy is up to 60%. His team play has also been impressive by getting forward quickly to support players when in possession and holding up the ball to bring others into play.
Ayew’s demeanour has completely changed as he looks determined and hungry to keep going every game. The way he took his goals against Manchester United and Aston Villa were also the sign of a striker full of confidence. Calm, collected and decisive.
Other players and Roy Hodgson have been singing his praises recently. The palace manager has welcomed Ayew’s contributions to the entire team in attacking and defending, while Jeffery Schlupp believes the Ghanaian forward has more goals in him this season. Ayew himself has also recently expressed his willingness to repay the faith in Steve Parish and Hodgson for brining him back to Palace permanently.
The question now remains whether Ayew will continue his rich vein of form and become the talisman we have so dearly needed over the last few seasons. Without trying to downplay his current boom, even 10 goals would be amazing considering the small sum paid for him.