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Sports Features of Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Source: 3news.com

Jordan Ayew’s season to forget

Ghanaian striker, Jordan Ayew Ghanaian striker, Jordan Ayew

Sometimes, just sometimes, the expectations don’t match the delivery and for Jordan Ayew, his fans, managers and anyone with his interest at heart, the big question will be where did it go wrong? In a season where a lot was expected from the Ghanaian, he has delivered very little.

So far, the Crystal Palace number 9 has scored just one goal in the Premier League.

The attacker came into the season brimming with confidence after an excellent run in the previous campaign.

Jordan achieved his best goalscoring season since 2014/15 (13 goals and 7 assists for Lorient in French Ligue 1). He netted 9 goals and set up two goals, making it a total of 11 goal contributions for Crystal Palace in the 2020/21 season.

Ayew bagged three Crystal Palace end of season awards in the process. He clinched the Player of the Season prize. Apart from that, he was named the club’s Players’ Player of the Season while his Messi-Esque strike against West Ham was named as the Goal of the Season.

He justified manager Roy Hodgson’s unending trust in him.

Ayew was handed a permanent contract following the expiration of his loan deal, even though his numbers in 2018/19 wasn’t impressive. He found the net once and assisted two goals in 25 games.

But Hodgson gave his consent for Ayew to be signed from Championship side Swansea.

“He [Jordan Ayew] has proved himself as a dedicated and hard-working member of the squad, and certainly played his part in the club securing its highest ever Premier League points tally in the last campaign,” Hodgson said after the signing was announced.

It was a bold call and Jordan repaid the faith. The expectation was that he would maintain the standard or do better.

But, with two games to go, it has been an extremely bad season for Jordan.

With 1 goal and 3 assists, Jordan has contributed only 4 goals, the same as in 2018/19, but in that campaign, Jordan played eight games less.

The last time Jordan recorded anything below 4 goal contributions was 12 years ago when he made his professional debut.

17 years at the time, Jordan earned promotion to the Marseille first team after three excellent years with the youth teams. He hit the ground running by scoring in his first match against Lorient on 16 December 2009. Jordan played 66 minutes that season.

Jordan Ayew’s club season numbers:

09/10 – 1 goal – 4 games (66 minutes)

10/11 – 2 goals, 4 assists – 29 games (955 minutes)

11/12 – 7 goals, 7 assists – 45 games (2280 minutes)

12/13 – 10 goals, 5 assists – 47 games (2696 minutes)

14/15 – 13 goals, 7 assists – 33 games (2716 minutes)

15/16 – 7 goals, 1 assist – 36 games (2695 minutes)

16/17 – 4 goals, 7 assists – 36 games (2482 minutes)

17/18 – 11 goals, 3 assists – 44 games (3278 minutes)

18/19 – 2 goals, 2 assists – 25 games (1340 minutes)

19/20 – 9 goals, 2 assists – 39 games (3269 minutes)

20/21 – 1 goal, 3 assists – 33 games (2116 minutes)

Irrespective of what happens in the remaining games, this season is one to forget for Jordan Ayew.

Perhaps, contracting Covid-19 was a major setback for the striker. Few weeks into the season, the Ghanaian tested positive for the virus days after returning from international duty.

Hodgson was left fuming when he lost his striker for two weeks.

“He’s been away with Ghana, which we weren’t exactly delighted to accept that he had to do. Like several other Ghanaian players, I believe when they have gone back to their clubs they have tested positive.

“Now we have to follow the relative government and Premier League guidelines before we see him again.

“I don’t know [when we’ll have him back]. Don’t ask me to stand here and explain all of the Premier League government guidelines when it comes to Covid.”

However, anyone who has followed the Ghanaian’s career trajectory should know the striker is a mentally tough character who doesn’t let disappointments weigh him down.

Jordan always finds a way to silence critics and make his admirers proud.

Looking at his statistics, anytime he struggles, the following season he manages to redeem himself.

The 29-year-old would be excited there is no major tournament to keep him busy during the pre-season. He can rest well and prepare effectively for the 2021/22 season.

In a recent interview, the striker said he aspires to qualify for European football with Crystal Palace.

“[For Palace] I just hope that we manage to be in the top 10 [this season] and one day be in Europe. That’s my wish for Palace and for me personally. As players, we all want to have great seasons and play in the best competitions, so that is my hope and my wish for Palace.”

Palace could finish 15 points adrift of a European place this season. This means they must double their efforts next season to qualify and Jordan’s goal contributions would be crucial.

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