Crystal Palace’s electric form this season culminated in the Eagles' 5-1 thumping of Newcastle this weekend with an unlikely figure bagging a brace.
In amongst the blood bath at Selhurst Park, Scottish midfielder James McArthur ended an eight-month goal drought. Well into his second season at Palace, the 28-year-old hammered the nail in Newcastle’s coffin via his double.
Predominantly a defensive midfielder, McArthur has been an overwhelming success at Palace since his move from Wigan for an undisclosed fee. However, with just 14 goals in English football before this week, it was no debating he was far from a natural finisher in front of goal.
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Despite this, only 13 minutes into Palace’s clash with Newcastle and McArthur had found the net. His deflected right-footed strike from the edge of the area found the bottom corner and deceived Rob Elliott.
As the game rolled into stoppage time, Toon were already licking their wounds at 4-1 down. McArthur stepped up to the plate and wrapped up the emphatic affair with a clinical left-footed finish from a tight angle.
Although Palace are so renowned for their pacey strike force, their victory over Newcastle saw their midfield stalwart inject the finishing touch.
However, what made McArthur’s unlikely brace all the more incredible was the fact it had been so long since the Scot had last executed the feat.
With McArthur’s typically deep position in Alan Pardew’s outfit, goals are often a rare occurrence, but his performance this week demonstrates the Palace side is oozing with covert finishers.
If Connor Wickham or Dwight Gayle are misfiring, Eagles fans can be assured that nearly every member of their squad can deliver the goods - even tough tackling McArthur. Pardew truly has a glistening offensive arsenal.
It may have taken 16 years for the Scot to hit a double, but there is little doubt this week has proven that McArthur is far from just Palace’s roughed-up midfielder terrier.
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