Crystal Palace supporters have been in high spirits in recent times after seeing their side get back to winning ways in the Premier League on Saturday.
Roy Hodgson’s men went into their encounter with struggling Fulham at Selhurst Park having drawn one and lost two of their last three league games, a run which saw them fall towards the division’s bottom three. But the Eagles now sit 14th in the table after a routine 2-0 success over Claudio Ranieri’s Cottagers, with goals from Luka Milivojevic and Jeffrey Schlupp inspiring the hosts to a seventh Premier League win of the season, which in turn moved them four points clear of the relegation zone.
As such, there have been many delighted Palace fans up and down the country in recent times, with supporters likely lauding a fine team effort from their side on Saturday to finally get back to winning ways in the league for the first time since January 2.
And while it was Milivojevic and Schlupp that came up with the vital contributions, it was the performance of Mamadou Sakho in the heart of the Eagles backline that epitomised everything brilliant about Palace at the weekend.
Ultimately, the 28-year-old has proven to be an inspired addition to the Palace backline following his arrival from Liverpool on a permanent deal back in the summer of 2017, what with the centre back excelling in a loan spell earlier that year to underline his importance to this Eagles side.
And the defender, but for the odd lapse in concentration, continues to prove his worth to Hodgson, and that was none-more-so evident than on Saturday as the France international produced another authoritative display to help Palace to a ninth clean sheet of the season.
The centre back may have only touched the ball on 58 occasions over the course of the 90 minutes, what with Fulham dominating possession for much of the encounter, but Sakho finished the contest with a staggering 98% pass success rate, misplacing only one of the 41 passes he attempted – for what it’s worth, no other Palace starter hit 90% on Saturday (as per WhoScored).
And having someone like that on the ball who is comfortable in possession but invariably picks a pass can only be good news in bringing calmness and a measure of control to the backline – Sakho certainly helped do that at the weekend.
Yet the former Liverpool centre back also did his bit off the ball as well to stop Fulham in their tracks, winning three of the five aerial duels he contested over the course of the 90 minutes, as well as making a joint team-high eight clearances and two interceptions to relieve pressure on the Palace defence.
Clearly then, Sakho helped deliver a performance of note both on and off the ball to help Hodgson’s side to a crucial three points on Saturday, with the £13.5 million-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt) the star in a great team display to underline just how much he epitomised everything brilliant about the Eagles at the weekend.
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