Ever since the year began, Crystal Palace supporters have certainly been through a lot.
They have not only had to witness their team lose 4-1 to their bitter rivals Brighton & Hove Albion after suffering a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Arsenal, but they will also be without their best players for some time.
The Eagles’ already dismal goal total could appear even worse by May as Michael Olise’s hamstring strain will keep him out of action for more than two months and Eberechi Eze’s thigh injury will keep him out for at least three weeks. Odsonne Edouard, a former Celtic star, is one of the players charged with raising that total. Despite having his best season since joining the team, he isn’t good enough to propel Palace up the standings.
But the club’s own academy may hold the solution to Roy Hodgson’s goal-scoring woes, since they have an 18-year-old goal machine on staff.
Numbers from Odsonne Édouard Palace’s career
On deadline day 2021, the Frenchman joined the Eagles for a reported £14 million from Scottish powerhouses Celtic. While there was some optimism that he could be able to return to his former form from north of the border, that optimism soon faded.
He made 28 Premier League appearances in his debut season, tallying six goals and three assists; however, in his second season, he only managed five goals and two assists in 35 games.
In his third season at Selhurst Park, he has managed to score six goals in 17 appearances. This means that he has averaged a goal every 3.63 games while playing for the South London team, which is insufficient to justify his spot in the squad.
Fortunately, Steve Parish and company can promote from within rather than having to take out their wallets to sign his replacement.
Zach Marsh might take Odsonne Édouard’s place.
Since moving from Watford to join Palace’s youth team in March 2022, Zach Marsh has been a dominant player for the younger teams. Nine months later, in November, he signed his first professional deal with the south Londoners, which was then extended. Given his track record with the club’s younger teams, it’s easy to see why the Eagles were eager to sign the gifted young player to an extension.
As Palace content producer HLTCO put it, the “absolute monster” has played in 39 games for the club’s U18 and U21 teams, scoring an incredible 29 goals and dishing out 16 assists. That means he averages 1.15 goal involvements per game.
The “outrageous” talent, as HLTCO put it, had already scored six hat tricks this season and played his first senior game against Crawley in a preseason friendly.
Even though Marsh is still undeveloped, his ludicrously impressive goal total speaks for itself. If the team decides to start looking for a new number nine in the summer, they ought to think about giving the academy product a chance to shine first.