- Ayew came close to breaking the deadlock for Palace
- The Ghana forward hit the crossbar with a fine strike
- Zaha & Eze had zero attempts for nine-man Palace
WHAT HAPPENED? Ayew received a precise low pass from Michael Olise and immediately unleashed a shot on goal. His attempt lacked a few centimetres to make it home as it crashed against the crossbar, denying him what would have been only a fifth goal in 94 games for Palace.
That was the only attacking action for Palace as things turned for the worst shortly after, when Bobby Reid headed in the opening goal for Fulham in the 31st minute, before the Eagles were reduced to 10 men when Tyrick Mitchell received a straight red for a horror tackle.
Palace then suffered another setback in the second half when James Tomkins was sent off for a second bookable offence and Fulham took full advantage, Tim Ream and Aleksandar Mitrovic scoring late to make it 3-0.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: The Ghana forward, who started on the right side of Palace’s attack, was the liveliest of the Eagles’ front three with leading scorer Wilfried Zaha, who was preferred upfront, and Eberechi Eze ineffective.
Ayew’s inability to utilise his chances is testing Patrick Vieira’s patience given he is yet to find the target this season having started 13 of his team’s 15 league games, with his last strike coming in April.
Meanwhile, Zaha and Eze had no shots on goal with Palace’s three attempts coming from Olise (two) and Ayew in what was a tough afternoon for Vieira’s side.
Zaha, who has looked lively when deployed out wide, where he uses his pace and trickery to beat his markers cut a lonely figure upfront as the Fulham defence gave him little room.
ALL EYES ON: Zaha had scored two goals in his team’s three warm-up matches before the English top flight resumed but found the going tough against the West London side, failing to add onto his six league goals.
THE VERDICT: Palace’s lack of discipline and poor display, Vieira might have to consider redeploying Zaha on the left wing where he looks comfortable and has space to attack.
WHAT’S NEXT? Palace face Bournemouth in their next league match on Saturday while Fulham host Southampton the same day.