Crystal Palace and Wolves supporters are eagerly anticipating the meeting between the two teams in the Premier League this weekend, with both going into the clash off the back of contrasting recent results.
Roy Hodgson’s Eagles made a fine start to the season in winning 2-0 at Fulham on the opening day, but they have since then managed just one victory in their succeeding six league matches, with their most recent a disappointing 2-1 defeat at Bournemouth on Monday night.
Yet things are certainly looking up at Molineux for Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves, what with the Championship champions adapting to top-flight life seamlessly so far in winning three and losing just one of their first seven matches, thus leaving them ninth ahead of their visit to the capital this weekend.
And both sets of managers will be hoping for improvement as the season goes on as well given both were relatively busy during the summer, with Hodgson luring the likes of Cheikhou Kouyate and Jordan Ayew to Palace, while Nuno attracted the likes of Joao Moutinho and Raul Jimenez to Molineux.
And it’s the additions of messrs Ayew and Jimenez which are of particular interest, so let’s take a look at how the two compare…
Ghana international Ayew suffered his second Premier League relegation of his career last term while at Swansea City, but he certainly gave it his all in a bid to keep the South Wales outfit in the top-flight.
The 27-year-old netted seven times in the league for the Swans as they endeavoured to keep their top-tier status, and such was Ayew’s efforts in trying to inspire Carlos Carvalhal’s side to safety, it was always likely that he’d return to the Premier League this season.
And in netting at least seven goals in both of his two full seasons at top-flight level, Palace were seen to have pulled off a very shrewd signing indeed in luring him to Selhurst Park during the summer, only for things to fail to so far take off for the Ghanaian star.
Ayew has yet to net for the Eagles in four Premier League appearances this season, but such has been his record in the top-flight in years gone by, the 27-year-old will surely find the back of the net sooner rather than later.
TT Verdict: B+
The exciting addition of Raul Jimenez from Benfica on loan for the entirety of the season was seen as one of many coups Wolves pulled off during the summer window, and his start to life in the Premier League suggests that it could prove to be a transfer masterstroke.
The 27-year-old has already bagged two goals and laid on a further two assists to help Santo’s men to 12 points from their opening seven Premier League matches, netting the winner in the 1-0 success over Burnley last month, and indeed in their opening day draw with Everton back in August.
And with assists in each of his last two matches, Jimenez is not only finding the back of the net but is also creating opportunities for his teammates – that’s the sign of a quality forward at Premier League level.
Starts in all seven matches underlines just how highly he is rated by manager Santo, and if he maintains this level throughout the campaign, Wolves will look back on pulling off a masterstroke during the summer.
TT Verdict: A
Landing a proven Premier League forward in Ayew was certainly a shrewd move by Hodgson and Crystal Palace, while the decision to lure Jimenez from Benfica for his first spell in English football was something of a gamble from Santo’s Wolves.
Yet the latter’s incredible start to life in the top-flight for the exciting West Midlands outfit already vindicates the faith shown in him by his manager, and certainly pales into contrast the early struggles Ayew is having adapting to life at Selhurst Park.
Both men look set to be key for their respective sides between now and the end of the season, but it’s Wolves’ Jimenez that appears to be streets ahead of Palace’s Ayew.
Crystal Palace and Wolves fans… what do you think? Let us know!Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!
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