Analysis

Can Odsonne Edouard be the answer to Crystal Palace’s goal-scoring issues?

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Crystal Palace completed the signing of 23-year-old French striker Odsonne Edouard from Celtic on deadline day, thus, ending the transfer window on an excellent note, having made exciting acquisitions for the new campaign. The Frenchman moves to London on a cut-price €18fee, following his long-standing desire for a new challenge, amidst interest by several Premier League clubs over the years.

Edouard’s arrival has the potential to spur a team lacking potency in front of goal and gives their new manager, Patrick Vieira, a reliable striker in front of goal. The Frenchman arrives on the back of an excellent stint at his former club, while young age is an exquisite incentive considering his potential and capability to grow in English football.

Odsonne Edouard is also a winner at the club level, having bagged the Scottish Premier League’s golden boot award for two consecutive years since 2019/20 and been part of a domestic ‘treble treble’ winning Celtic side for two consecutive seasons since his arrival in 2018. He scored 57 goals in 94 appearances during his time at Celtic and will be hoping to replicate his goal contributions for a Palace team desperate for the services of a clinical striker.

Creative Number-Nine

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image credit: cpfc.co.uk

In addition to being a swashbuckling presence in front of goal, Edouard is a multi-functional asset, possessing the ability to not only contribute to goals but also influence the attacking build-up surrounding him. His elegance and willingness to be the creative force up-front earned him the golden boot at Celtic for two consecutive seasons, as he accounted for 18 goals and six assists in the Premiership alone last campaign.

Further, Odsonne Edouard is also an excellent dribbler, thus, allowing him to act a false nine, vacate space for his teammates in the attacking third, and find passes into the 18-yard-box. The Frenchman also possesses exceptional pace and movement in the attacking third, thus, strengthening Palace’s counter-attacking approach and significantly bolstering their creative spark on the pitch.

The French striker is also a versatile forward, having seamlessly adapted his game from a possession-based approach during Brendan Rodgers’ reign at Celtic to a high-intensity approach by current manager Neil Lennon. His physical presence gives him a boost going into his first season in the Premier League, while the technical skill and agility give him an upper hand over any other striker at his new club.

System Striker

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In addition to being an all-around goal-scoring striker, Edouard is brilliant in adapting his role to suit a manager’s approach while equally producing the same or better results on the pitch. His intelligence, off-the-ball movement, and adaptability allow him to seamlessly fit into a well-drilled possession system while his pace, energy, and menacing presence in the attacking third make him suitable to a manager reliant on high-pressing and quick build-ups to produce results on the pitch.

Further, essential to Palace’s approach hitherto, Edouard activity and positioning in the final third is an indispensable asset to the team, allowing the likes of Conor Gallagher and Wilfried Zaha to link up with their new teammate to create chances by producing through balls and exploiting the opposition’s weakness in midfield and defence. Though not a target man, the Frenchman is excellent in playing off a defender’s shoulder while his excellent control in tight space and ability to confidently dribble and shoot from either foot provide him with the balance and skill required to thrive as a Premier League striker.

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image credit: cpfc.co.uk

Although not the most convincing with his shots on goal, Edouard is a composed finisher, and his ability to involve himself in the attacking build-up and take creative risks to produce chances compensate for his weaknesses as a striker. Odsonne Edouard lacks the instinct and movement of a traditional number nine in and around the penalty box, however, his willingness to find spaces and provide assists makes him a suitable asset to a Palace squad lacking the creative force in the attacking half of the pitch. His ability to run into pockets of space and drift past defenders also provides for a unique dynamic under the new manager.

Overall, Odsonne Edouard is a confident striker who boasts immense physical and technical skills to thrive in the Premier League. The forwards can adapt to a variety of roles and is undoubtedly a welcome addition to an underperforming Crystal Palace side. Though the Frenchman still lacks the attributes of a prolific number nine, Edouard could be a revelation at Palace provided he continues his development and is involved in a wide variety of goals over the course of the campaign.

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