The English Premier League season is now in full flight. Ghanian star Jordan Ayew has spoken of his confidence in manager Patrick Vieira to help turn around Crystal Palace’s poor start to the campaign. That will come as music to the ears of the London club’s fans after watching the Eagles win just one of their opening five games.
Ayew played an important part in the club’s summer re-build, and there was a real energy about the Selhurst Park club when the curtain went up on the 2021/22 season. Former Arsenal midfielder Vieira was appointed as the new boss, seen as an ambitious move by many close to the game in England.
He brought with him several eye-catching signings. As ever at Palace, the pre-season aim was to avoid relegation and push for a top 10 finish in the highest tier of English football.
A slow start means they have a long way to go and face an uphill struggle as we get into the thick of a busy domestic and European fixture list. Traders at the leading betting apps, including Westgate, have been quick to write the Eagles off in their quest for a top-half finish. Still, Ayew and his teammates are refusing to reach for the panic button after just a handful of games and assured fans the squad is confident they can turn things around in the coming weeks of the season.
Ayew positive changes will take effect
Ayew is, perhaps, best placed to comment on the change Vieira has made at Crystal Palace since the Frenchman replaced former England manager Roy Hodgson in the summer. Hodgson didn’t have too many critics and did a sterling job at Selhurst Road during his stay, but everyone connected to the club knew they needed a long-term replacement and clear vision for the future.
They needed a young, hungry and ambitious manager who had the experience of playing at the top level of the game, including the Premier League and Champions League. Someone in the mould of Frank Lampard or Steven Gerrard.
Vieira got the call, but his tenure hasn’t started as well as the manager, players, board or the fans would have hoped. That’s not something that puts Ayew off, as he explained to the national press recently that the team are working towards a new philosophy, new style and new positivity.
Jordan has played in every game this season under the new boss and recognises it will take time for those changes to bed in and begin to show on the field and in the results. Ayew is confident it’ll click sooner rather than later after seeing how hard his teammates and the coaching staff have been working on the training field.
Consistency is key to competing for the major places in any respected football league, and that’s certainly the case in the EPL. Ayew understands his team has been playing good football in stages of matches but admits that’s not enough to compete.
In order to challenge for the top half of the table, they must be strong at home, winning matches against the teams around them in the division while becoming more difficult to beat on the road. They must resist the urge to attack teams and play attractive football. A boring 1-0 win is better than an entertaining 4-3 defeat.
That’s something Patrick will be eager to get across to his men. Yes, playing eye-catching football is what they are after, but it must get its rewards. That starts from the back with the defence cutting out errors. They lost three goals at Anfield, two at West Ham, one at Watford and three at Chelsea. They also failed to find the net in their first three games.
Palace’s best performance of the season came at home in a London Derby win over Tottenham in September. With Spurs top of the league at the time, the Eagles caused an upset with a 3-0 win, the goals scored by Zaha and a double from summer signing Edouard. Ayew wasn’t on the scoresheet in that match, but he was one of the standout performers, breaking down the attacks of Spurs with crunching tackles in the midfield.