Crystal Palace v Stoke: Townsend to finally make mark
No player has had more goal attempts without scoring across the opening four gameweeks of the Premier League season than Andros Townsend.
Having netted four times in just 13 top-flight appearances for Newcastle to conclude the last campaign, Townsend would have been expected to supply a more consistent goal threat for Crystal Palace in the wide areas.
After all, no Palace player scored more than five times across the whole of last season, with regular wide men Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha registered just seven goals between them from approximately 4,800 minutes of action.
However, Townsend is yet to come good for Palace bass Alan Pardew, with his 15 goal attempts level with the likes of Sergio Aguero and more than Diego Costa through the first four rounds of fixtures.
Up next for the Eagles is the visit of bottom club Stoke and there are a few reasons why Townsend is worth siding with at 11/5 to open his seasonal account at any point in the 90 minutes.
First is that Stoke have the worst defensive in the Premier League so far, shipping 10 goals across their defeats to Manchester City, Tottenham and Everton, alongside their draw with Middlesbrough.
With Glen Johnson absent, they have looked especially ropey at right-back. Phil Bardsley was run ragged by Middlesbrough and Geoff Cameron struggled to cope with movement of Son Heung-min in the defeat to Spurs.
Townsend has generally made his name as a left-footed right winger, regularly taking the opportunity to drift inside and shoot from distance.
By starting down the left for Palace, this strength is somewhat nullified, with his chief task seemingly to take on his full-back down the line and supply the ammunition for fellow new signing Christian Benteke.
But with Stoke liable to switch off, there looks to be the potential for Townsend to ghost into the box more frequently to have attempts on goal. Only two of his 15 attempts this far have been from 18 yards on closer.
Given Stoke’s defensive issues, Benteke also looks a prime scoring candidate. It is 13/8 he strikes in the 90 minutes, 9/2 he breaks the deadlock and a potentially lucrative 40/1 that he bags a hat-trick.
In terms of match betting, Palace are 21/20 for victory, Stoke 3/1 and the draw priced at 12/5.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.