Crystal Palace’s start to the season has been pretty miserable so far but in James McArthur, the club have a man in red-hot scoring form. Following on from his brace against Ipswich in the League Cup, the midfielder bagged a goal for Scotland in their World Cup qualifier against Lithuania last night.
— GileBoola (@GileBoola) September 1, 2017
After a deadline day deal for Everton striker Oumar Niasse fell through, the Eagles have been left with only one fit first-team striker in the shape of Christian Benteke, meaning they need all the help they can get in the final third of the field and regardless of the relatively weak strength of the opposition, James is certainly proving himself as someone with an eye for goal in recent weeks.
When he signed back in the summer of 2015, Yohan Cabaye was looked upon by many fans as the ideal candidate to occupy the role of a number 10 but throughout his time in red and blue, the Frenchman has been used far more frequently as a holding midfielder. It’s a position Yohan himself seems to enjoy but it does often feel as though the set-up lacks any real offensive partner for Benteke, who can seem isolated for long spells of every game when the team are unable to dictate play through possession.
With Luka Milivojevic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Jason Puncheon and the aforementioned Cabaye all battling it out with McArthur for a starting place in the Palace midfield, it’s beginning to feel as though James could offer something unique for Frank de Boer as he looks to get our first win of the season so far against Burnley at Turf Moor next Sunday.
When he first signed from Wigan, I personally thought of him as a player with an immense work-rate who could bring a sense of comfort to our defensive work but over the last couple of weeks, I’m wondering if I’ve had it wrong all along.
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