JORDAN AYEW’S RETURN TO FORM SHOULD EXCITE AKUNNOR AHEAD OF STARS’ AFCON DOUBLE HEADER
By Hans-Noble Hoeyi
Big things were expected of Jordan Ayew at Crystal Palace in 2020/2021, especially having emerged as the club’s top marksman and best player last season and capping off a brilliant season with that sensational solo against West Ham. But the Ghanaian has looked off colour for large swathes of this current campaign.
At times, he looked lost in games, contributing little both on and off the ball, a sharp contrast to his faultless work rate of last season. His ability to manipulate the ball in tight areas, excellent hold up play and fast turn of pace seem to have all deserted him.
As a result, his desire and ambition were called into question. Doubts were raised about his competence and his ability to recapture the form of last season which made him a firm fan favourite at Selhurst Park.As of this stage last season, the former Villa man had plundered six goals and registered three assists compared to his solitary strike and two assists this term. His lack of form has seen him make seven substitute appearances in the 21 matches he has featured in, a clear departure from last term where he started all the 37 matches he played in. The 1.8m tall attacker has also been less involved in his sides play with an average pass rate of 17.66 as against the 22 he managed in 2019/2020 season. His shooting accuracy has also dropped from 41.37% to 38.89%.
In his defence, Jordan Ayew has not been as fit as a butcher’s dog this term. He contracted coronavirus on national team duty in October which saw him sidelined for two weeks and suffered the effect of long Covid.
However, if his performances in the Eagle’s last two recent outings against Burnley and Brighton are anything to go by, there are clear indications the ex-Swansea striker is gradually rediscovering form.
Even though Roy Hodgson’s team was humbled 3-0 by Burnley, the 29-year-old was the only bright spot in a dull Palace performance. Ayew tallied 5 crosses (one accurate), attempted three tackles (two won) and two shot attempts (off target) and would have been disappointed his effort went unrewarded.
The attacker continued from where he left off against Brighton with his contributions earning his team a deserved 2-1 victory. Jordan fashioned out a crucial assist and made four tackles, putting together an all-round stellar performance and was deservedly named man-of-the- match.
After the game, Palace gaffer Roy Hodgson heaped praises on the Ghanaian for his outstanding display and admitted the striker was back to his best after his initial struggles and would be vital in the Premier League run in.
The form of the ex- Marseille man should excite his national team boss, Charles Akunnor going into crucial AFCoN qualifiers against South Africa and Sao Tome as he needs his star striker firing on all cylinders.