Edouard’s Brilliance Marks Crystal Palace’s Winning Start Against Sheffield United in Premier League Opener

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In this season, for the first time since 2013-14, Crystal Palace finds itself without the presence of Wilfried Zaha, their talismanic forward who departed in the summer. Yet, Odsonne Edouard’s performance has managed to offer a victorious commencement to their campaign at the expense of Sheffield United’s comeback to the Premier League.

Following a relatively quiet first half, Edouard capitalized on Jordan Ayew’s delivery just after the break to find the net. The French striker, aged 25, skillfully converted Ayew’s low cross from Palace’s right wing into a close-range goal.

Though debutant William Osula made an attempt for United, Crystal Palace had its chances to amplify the victory margin. Edouard missed an opportunity to score a second, directing a feeble header straight towards Wes Foderingham, who also thwarted Ayew and Joachim Andersen’s attempts towards the end.

This victory, which marked Roy Hodgson’s 41st season as a manager and 1,242nd game in charge, granted Palace an encouraging commencement to the new era post Zaha.

Hodgson’s tactical adjustments have seen Palace adopt a more offensive approach since he succeeded Patrick Vieira in March. This was reinforced by the addition of Brazilian forward Matheus Franca. While Franca was sidelined due to injury for this match, the combined performance of Edouard, Ayew, and new England international Eberechi Eze indicated their enthusiasm to bear greater responsibility in Zaha’s absence.

In contrast, Sheffield United, last season’s Championship runners-up, has been undergoing changes, losing key players like Iliman Ndiaye and Sander Berge. Manager Paul Heckingbottom acknowledged his squad’s work ahead, emphasizing their focus on attacking this season, aiming to surprise skeptics.

Despite United’s young lineup due to injuries and departures, they put up a fight. Osula nearly marked his full debut with a goal, and the team’s spirit remained commendable. However, Palace’s domination was evident for the majority of the match. The disallowed goal of Ayew and testing shots from Edouard and Cheick Doucoure showcased Palace’s offensive prowess.

“We knew it would be tough, but I’m proud of the players and their effort,” acknowledged Heckingbottom. “While Palace deserves the victory, we don’t shy away from the challenges of this league, and we’ll strive to improve moving forward.”

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