Analysing Andros Townsend's incredible performance against Stoke City
Crystal Palace have started to find their form this season with back-to-back wins, relieving the pressure that had built on Alan Pardew. Their attacking line-up has adjusted to the loss of Yannick Bolasie and they ran riot against an underperforming Stoke City side. Andros Townsend has the pressure of being the replacement for Bolasie in the side, despite being signed before the DR Congo international left the club. He played on the left hand side on Sunday and was arguably the man-of-the-match with an all-action display.
The Eagles have a good squad and strengthened significantly over the summer. Despite their poor form in 2016, they should be challenging for the top ten this season. The signings of Steve Mandanda, Andros Townsend and Christian Benteke add international class to the squad. The move for Townsend was a clever one, as they exploited his contractual situation at Newcastle. He is an excellent Premier League player when he is given a run in the side and if he is provided with a settled environment, he could contribute plenty of goals this season.
Townsend was excellent in both halves of the pitch and definitely qualifies as a modern day winger, as he contributes defensively. In this match, he won the only tackle he made and made a further two interception. Alan Pardew likes his wingers to track back and support their full back effectively, which Townsend certainly does. He also made two clearances to relieve pressure on his side.
It was in attack that he was most impressive, with his pace, close ball control and technique allowing him to make several surging runs into the final third. Throughout the match, he completed five of his eight dribbles, making him the most effective dribbler in the match. He has clearly been asked to run at defenders when he has the chance and when he has the confidence that he does currently, Townsend can be difficult to contain. Pardew knew that that Stoke defence was short of confidence and he asked his attackers to be direct to take advantage of that.
In possession, the winger was composed, proving that his decision making has improved significantly over the last 12 months. He finished the game with an impressive 83% pass completion rate and made two key passes during the match. His set pieces caused a constant threat with the first goal resulted from one.
The former Newcastle man capped his performance off with an incredible solo goal. He carried the ball into the final third, performed a drag back to create space before guiding the ball past Shay Given. It was a superb piece of individual brilliance which added an extra shine to the home side’s victory. During the match, the 25-year-old attempted three shots, showing that he likes to try his luck when the opportunity presents itself. Although he has scored some wonderful goals, this match included, Townsend needs to improve his decision making as he can sometimes waste promising situations for his team.
It was a matured performance from Townsend as he emerges as the leader of the Crystal Palace attack. Christian Benteke has provided a focal point and his arrival has helped bring the best out of Townsend. Last season, Townsend was one of the bright lights of Newcastle’s season and he nearly broke into the England squad for Euro 2016. He opted to move back to the Premier League to try and get back into the national team. If he continues to play at this level, he will give Sam Allardyce something to think about for sure.
Featured Image: All rights reserved by Paul Rudderow
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