Saturday’s drab 0-0 draw between Crystal Palace and Newcastle was largely unremarkable for both partisans and neutrals alike but once again, Eagles right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka proved that he is a player destined to reach the top of the game.
It’s easy to forget given the comfort he’s shown since making his professional debut in red and blue but last weekend’s clash against Rafa Benitez and co. was just Wan-Bissaka’s 12th Premier League appearance, with two games against Liverpool, alongside meetings with Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham punctuating that run.
Despite the rather underwhelming nature of the match as a whole, Aaron stood out above the rest yet again, successfully winning the ball in all five of the tackles he attempted, making three interceptions and completing four of the five dribbles he attempted amidst the 99 touches he had over the course of the match.
Yet again, no right-back received a higher WhoScored rating across the entire Premier League, meaning that he’s almost certain to be named in the site’s Team of the Week for the fourth time in just 12 league games as a professional; numbers which are quite simply outstanding given the time he’s had to settle into top flight football.
A great deal has rightly been made of Wilfried Zaha’s influence on Palace’s success in recent months but thanks to the defensive backbone of Van Aanholt, Sakho, Tomkins and Wan-Bissaka, Roy Hodgson has an extremely solid base upon which to build. Whilst we have undoubtedly been lacking a cutting edge in the final third since the 2018/19 season began, Saturday’s second consecutive clean sheet hints at a side who will be rather difficult for the opposition to break down from week to week.
He may have been thrown in at the deep end after a major injury crisis last term but Wan-Bissaka’s progress ever since has left me wondering how many other gems we have waiting to be given a chance to shine in the youth ranks.