Since he first arrived at Crystal Palace last summer, Connor Wickham has divided opinion like almost no other, but after his performances in our last two games, even his harshest of critics are being forced to reconsider their view.
Having scored four goals in two games, with each strike showcasing his obvious eye for goal when presented with chances, the conundrum over who Pardew is best served by starting at the head of the side has become infinitely clearer.
His brace at The Stadium Of Light on Tuesday may not have had the showstopping grace of his double against West Brom a few days before, but it did confirm that the 22-year-old is finally brimming with confidence, which will be vital for him in the coming weeks as Palace prepare to take some of the Premier League’s best teams.
With Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool set to saunter into Selhurst Park off the back of a startlingly good display against Manchester City on Wednesday night, bookies will inevitably have them down as favourites, but backed by a home crowd who are desperate to see their team pick up a first league win of 2016, Wickham will be more confident than ever of opening his account on home turf.
As the graphic above proves, Wickham was the single best performing player for any London club over the last round of Premier League fixtures; an extremely impressive feat in the week that West Ham produced a wonderfully dominant team display against Spurs to take all three points on Wednesday evening.
There were plenty who balked at the club laying out £9 million for Wickham prior to the start of this campaign, but if he continues to perform at anywhere near the level he has in the last seven days between now and May, that price tag will begin to look like a bargain for Alan Pardew and Palace.