Goal picks the Carlsberg EPL player after a pulsating gameweek of football action.This week it's Crystal Palace's hard-working and in-form forward, Cameron Jerome
|Passes (% accurate)||21 (52%)|
|Aerial Duels Won||2|
|Shots (on target)||5 (3)|
This week’s Carslberg English Premier League (EPL) player of week is Crystal Palace’s powerful forward Cameron Jerome. Nope that’s not a typo, you read correctly, Cameron Jerome, the man who before last weekend hadn’t scored an EPL goal in 21 games, or 10 months! I’m aware it may be a choice that’s as unfashionable as a pair of Vincent Tan’s trousers, but hear me out.
Over the past four game weeks Jerome has been in tremendous form. Don’t get me wrong, when I say tremendous form I don’t mean that he has channelled his inner Ronaldo, he has and never will be that type of player. What he is, is an extremely hard-working forward who will run all day for the team, chasing lost causes, harrying defenders and exploiting space in behind the oppositions defence.
His meagre 29 EPL goals in 159 matches confirms that he’s anything but prolific, but when you are a team at the bottom of the table, scrapping for your life, having a such a committed player as Jerome can indeed be valuable. Ironically his best form has come since the news broke that his former Stoke gaffer Tony Pulis was to be appointed the new manager of Crystal Palace. After Pulis was sacked by Stoke back in May, Jerome launched stinging criticism in the way of his former boss, stating that “there was (always) a guaranteed XI who played”, that many “won't be disheartened by the fact a new manager's come in” and that “everyone, (the) players - the staff are more happy” with Pulis’s exit.
I’m sure Pulis’s first day at training at Palace would have been as awkward as running into your ex-girlfriend for Jerome, who may have feared that he would have been sent to train with the reserves as quickly as his new manager had donned his trademark tracksuit and cap. But give credit to Pulis, he saw that the performance of the forward in the 1-0 victory at Hull City was indication of a player coming into form after long spells on the bench over the past two seasons, and since then he has stuck with him in the team.
On Saturday, Palace made it six points in four days with a well-deserved victory over Cardiff City. It took Jerome only six minutes to pounce on an inviting Jason Puncheon cross, the high point in a terrific all-round display. With fellow forward Marouane Chamakh asked to play slightly deeper, it was left to Jerome to work his socks off as the furthest player forward, and he looked like he had four lungs such was his work rate. What was also impressive was his link-up play, it was never a case of Palace just lumping the ball forward to him, their build-up play and passing football was impressive, and Jerome was integral to this with some neat touches as he linked with Puncheon, Chamakh, a reborn Barry Bannan and the underrated Australian Mile Jedinak.
After the game Cameron declared that the past criticism aimed at Pulis was “taken out of context” and that now he “and Tony have no problem whatsoever.” Whilst Pulis praised Jerome saying that he had been “brilliant” and that “if he does what he is good at he is a threat to anybody.” A relief for Jerome then that he didn’t receive the same punishment from Pulis that fellow forward James Beattie once did.
Tony Pulis has never been relegated in his managerial career, and he’ll know better than anyone that he probably cannot rely on Cameron Jerome’s goals (or lack of) if he wants to maintain that fine record. But his play over the last few weeks has shown him that Jerome is a player who will give 110% and willingly fight for the cause, when you are in a relegation battle, those are the types of characters that you need!