Crystal Palace’s first-half display against Wolves was a complete and utter non-event, as both sides played out a drab, lifeless encounter.
There was not a single shot on target to behold, while the play was often broken up as a result of small injuries to Patrick van Aanholt, Cheikhou Kouyate and James McCarthy.
In fact, the latter man’s issue saw him forced off at half-time, which is when Jairo Riedewald stepped into the fold – thank goodness he did.
The 3-cap Netherlands international injected life, energy and forward-thinking passing to the game, which eventually helped the Eagles secure all three points.
WhoScored shows he recorded a pass success rate of 87% after completing 23 passes against Nuno Espirito Santo’s men.
Now. we’re aware that doesn’t sound like many.
However, just by watching the game, you could see that most of them were progressive passes, made with the intent of starting an attack.
In far too many games this season, it’s seemed as if Palace’s backline is on a different planet to the attack, such is the lack of a link between the two.
In Riedewald, Roy Hodgson has that link.
He now has no option but to start the Dutchman more often, if not every week.
It’s also no surprise that Eberechi Eze came to life in the second half after the Ajax academy graduate entered the fray, eventually netting the winner.
Quite simply, it would be criminal for Hodgson to bench the 24-year-old after watching him light the game up this afternoon.