Lee Chung-Yong has impressed Crystal Palace fans in the opening three weeks of the Premier League season and now, he’s bagged a pivotal goal for South Korea in a 3-2 win over China.
It had looked as though the former Bolton man was heading for the exit door at Palace towards the end of last season after quotes from an interview he gave criticising Alan Pardew surfaced in the UK, but after apologising to the Eagles’ boss, he appears to be back in the first-team picture at Selhurst Park, performing well in the opening weeks of the 2016/17 campaign.
Having always been known as a player who is comfortable to tease defences with the ball at his feet, Lee will no doubt be hoping that Alan Pardew’s talk of a “transition” in Palace’s general play means a more prominent role in the first-team set-up for him. Indeed, with the likes of McArthur and Cabaye unlikely to be removed by choice in the centre of our midfield, the option of using the South Korean as an out-and-out number 10 behind the powerful frame of Christian Benteke has almost certainly crossed the manager’s mind in recent days.
For all the fretting Palace fans (myself included) have been doing over the general depth of our squad, central midfield is arguably our strongest position, given the presence of the aforementioned Cabaye and McArthur, alongside Chungy, Jordon Mutch, Joe Ledley and Jason Puncheon. Of course, we’re all free to raise questions about the quality of the players available to us beyond the opening two names, but in Lee Chung-Yong, Alan Pardew certainly has a player who offers something different to the rest.
The South Korean’s stunning winner away at Stoke last season may have come as something of a bolt from the blue, but if he is given a more prominent place in the Palace first-team over the next few months, our supporters may just see him flourish.