The shock Jefferson Lerma statistic emerging from Sheffield United 0-1 Crystal Palace
Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

The shock Jefferson Lerma statistic emerging from Sheffield United 0-1 Crystal Palace

Why Chelsea FINALLY Turned A Corner.

Crystal Palace kicked off the 2023/24 Premier League campaign in perfect fashion with a win over Sheffield United – in which Jefferson Lerma shone on his debut.

The Colombia international was making his first official start for us following a switch from Bournemouth on a free transfer, and displayed his wide range of skills throughout the 90 minutes – specifically one surprising trait.

So, what did Jefferson Lerma do on his Crystal Palace debut? Let’s take a look…

What’s the story?

Well, the South American is only 5ft 10in – so you would not have him down as an aerial presence like Christian Benteke, for example.

However, Lerma proved that he is more than capable of competing in the air during our 1-0 win over Sheffield United.

Amazingly – as shown by WhoScored – the Colombian recorded 12 successful aerial duels, which no other player even came close to matching.

Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

The next most dominant players in the air were Joachim Andersen, John Egan and Chris Basham, who all registered just four successful aerial duels.

Make no mistake about it – Lerma has an incredible leap in his locker.

Jefferson Lerma and Cheick Doucoure can allow Crystal Palace to thrive

Some may not be too moved by Lerma’s stunning tally of aerial duels, but it certainly opens up an interesting topic of conversation when Cheick Doucoure is mentioned as well.

The Mali international won our Player of the Season award last term – in his debut campaign, no less – after pretty much holding down the entire midfield throughout 2022/23,

However, one thing Doucoure struggles with is winning these aerial duels.

Now – though – with Lerma alongside him, someone who is arguably not as strong a passer as Doucoure is, Roy Hodgson has a duo who compliment each other in front of our backline.

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It may only have been Sheffield United – with all due respect to the Blades – but Lerma and Doucoure kept things incredibly tight in midfield, to the point where Marc Guehi, Andersen and Sam Johnstone were hardly tested.

Should the midfield duo stay fit, their industry in the middle of the park will help the likes of Eberechi Eze, Michael Olise and Matheus Franca to thrive in attack.

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