Article by Reece Weller – Twitter @topbins_news
Bakary Sako began his Crystal Palace career with two goals and an assist in his first two Premier League appearances back in August 2015. At the time there was suggestions that he could keep Yannick Bolasie out of the team for the foreseeable future and even become a replacement with talks of Bolasie leaving the club. The Mali international’s bright start at Selhurst Park proved to be only a spell with Sako failing to either score or set up another top-flight goal for another 2 years. On the day the scoring drought was broken, the former Wolves winger saw the ball ricochet off his leg to beat Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes, after his initial shot had been saved late on. Sako followed that up with a fine finish in the 3-0 win at Leicester City, before also netting with a brilliant strike in the FA Cup defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion in the third round.
Those goals, together with his excellent all-round performance at the Amex Stadium, forced Roy Hodgson to include Sako in the starting XI for Saturday’s fixture with Burnley. The favour was repaid when he netted the only goal of the game, a left-footed finish which arrowed into the corner of the Burnley net.
Alongside Christian Benteke in a 4-4-2 formation, Sako also impressed with his movement without the ball, giving Palace the chance to press with pace. Benteke has struggled for goals this season and has never been the type of striker who runs the channels and presses from the front, which often has a negative effect on Palace’s overall attacking approach; Sako, though, offered much more dynamism and thrust at the top of the pitch at the weekend, and will almost certainly begin the Eagles’ upcoming match against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
Sako has been unfortunate with injuries throughout his time in South London and has recently confirmed he is now injury free and completely fit, which will hopefully give him the chance to cement his place in the side. The Mali international’s form has come at the perfect time for Roy Hodgson and his team with injuries hampering the Eagles fine form of late.
With his contract set to expire at the end of June, Sako has plenty to play for in the coming months. If he continues his current form and contributes with goals, Palace will be keen to tie him down.