What Crystal Palace Fans Can Expect From Eberechi Eze

27 August 2020 01:45

Queens Park Rangers midfielder Eberechi Eze is set to complete a move across London to Crystal Palace after the two clubs agreed a £19.5m fee.

The England youth international enjoyed a fantastic season in the second tier in 2019/20, finding the net 14 times and assisting a further eight in a mid-table QPR side.

But what will Eze bring to Selhurst Park?


Why Do Crystal Palace Need Him?

Well, he's certainly a creative player - and if there's one thing Crystal Palace need, it's creativity.

The Eagles looked bereft of attacking quality at times last season, with only 20th-placed Norwich City scoring fewer than Roy Hodgson's side. Jordan Ayew was the club's top goalscorer with nine, and Wilfried Zaha was second with just four.

Ivorian forward Zaha was uncharacteristically tame last season, assisting just three more in 38 Premier League appearances. The 27-year old is often the Eagles' only creative outlet, which makes it easier for opponents to mark him out of the game.

The addition of another attacking midfielder to the starting lineup could lift the burden off Zaha's shoulders, but it remains to be seen whether the winger will still be at Selhurst Park next season with the player seemingly intent on moving on.


Is He Good Enough?

While unproven in the top flight, the 22-year old has undeniable quality.

Eze ranked highly in a number of the Championship's attacking metrics, finishing as the division's joint-12th top scorer, as well as racking up the joint-eighth most assists.

Furthermore, he also made the top 20 for shots per game and key passes per game. Decent.


His Biggest Strength?

Where he really excels is his dribbling. Eze averaged three successful dribbles per game in the 2019/20 campaign - only Brentford's Said Benrahma and Reading's Ovie Ejaria had a higher average. On top of this, he was the second most fouled player in the division. With a set-piece expert like Luka Milivojevic in the side, Eze's ability to win free kicks and penalties could be a useful asset.

His dribbling is without a doubt the most aesthetically pleasing aspect of his game - he can drop a shoulder like Lionel Messi, pull out a piece of skill like Ronaldinho, or just glide past players like Yaya Touré circa 2014.

To go with this smooth dribbling is an eye for the spectacular. The former Wycombe Wanderers loanee has never been afraid to pull out a piece of magic, whether it be a 25-yard screamer or an inch perfect 40-yard through ball. While it may not work every single time, such attacking intent is vital for any team.

He's capable with both feet, too. Out of his 25 professional career goals, six of them have come on his weaker left foot.


And His Attitude?

Top class.

Eze had a turbulent youth career, getting rejected by Arsenal, Fulham, Reading and Millwall at academy level.

At 18 years old, he found himself without a club and ready to start work at Tesco, before impressing while on trial at QPR. To recover from constant setbacks and stand out from the crowd shows exceptional determination and mental strength.


So, What's the Risk?

Well, the step up from the Championship to the Premier League has often proven to be too much for some.

In the last eight years, the likes of Matej Vydra, Patrick Bamford, and Anthony Knockaert have won the Championship Player of the Year award, yet struggled to make an impact at the top level. While Eze undoubtedly has the quality to succeed, whether he can adjust to the higher standard remains to be seen.

It's a gamble for Crystal Palace, but should Roy Hodgson manage to consistently get the best out of the young Englishman, it could prove to be a bargain.


Source: 90min