Crystal Palace Defender Leads Premier League Stats in One Significant Category

Jamie Spencer

​ Crystal Palace defender Patrick van Aanholt didn't take long to score his first goal for his new club. 

The Dutchman grabbed a crucial winner against fellow strugglers Middlesbrough in only his fourth appearance in Palace colours since arriving in January, taking him onto four goals for the season and proving he's equally valuable at both ends of the pitch.

Prior to leaving Sunderland, Van Aanholt had been responsible for three of the Black Cats' 20 Premier League goals - only Jermain Defoe has scored more, and it seems the former Chelsea youngster has picked up from where he left off after January.


The goals shouldn't really come as a surprise. Van Aanholt is one of the most attacking full-backs in the league, his marauding runs are a constant source of threat to the opposition and he's had more shots on target (12) than any other defender in the division.

To put that into context, he's been as much as an attacking threat this season as Wayne Rooney, the Manchester United captain only taking 12 shots on target himself. Olivier Giroud has only had one more shot on target at Arsenal, while Leicester's club record £29m striker Islam Slimani has had only 10.

Crystal Palace v Sunderland - Premier League
Crystal Palace v Sunderland - Premier League

It seems that Van Aanholt has stepped things up since moving south. His passing accuracy is up to 84.8% from 77.6% at Sunderland, and while he's making less interceptions, tackles and dribbles per game at Palace, it's important that there is less pressure on him to be the all-action star at the centre of everything as he is surrounded by a better squad now.

Van Aanholt has not been included in the Dutch national team for the latest round of international fixtures and so has opportunity to rest up before Palace face tough upcoming games against Chelsea, Southampton and Arsenal next month.

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