For a long time, Jordan Ayew looked like he may have scored the match-winning goal against Manchester United.
His superb composure to latch onto Jeffrey Schlupp’s head from Vicente Guaita’s long ball forward and the slot past David De Gea was just the clinical edge Crystal Palace were going to need in a game like this.
He also held the ball well and battled for to retain possession in a game where Roy Hodgson’s side had very little, sparking sheer belief with his first half goal.
Ayew’s job is always to score goals but he had another at Old Trafford. One crucial in achieving victory against the Red Devils.
Often the forward would be seen very deep in the Palace half and driving out with the ball from there. It turns out Hodgson handed a key defensive responsibility to his main forward.
Hodgson said, “There was no doubt in my mind I was going to bring him back for this game. Basically, he had a very specific job to do apart from of course being a good centre forward, holding the ball up, beating players when he can and scoring goals.
“He had another very important job to do, making certain Paul Pogba couldn’t come deep and spread passes all around the field and he did that exceptionally well too.”
Ayew put in a strong performance against Everton but was dropped as Wilfried Zaha returned to face Sheffield United. Hodgson believes his striker was right to feel aggrieved.
The Palace boss said, “I would probably describe his performances as more than decent. I think they’ve been very good. I think he was unlucky to lose his place when I wanted to play two front players against Sheffield United and I chose Wilf to partner Christian Benteke rather than him.
“I think he was very unfortunate to lose his place and I think he was entitled to say ‘you should have kept me in the team because I played so well against Everton.’”