Michael Olise underlined his enormous quality by becoming the youngest player to supply three assists from open play in a Premier League game against Leeds United last week, in a match where he terrorised Javi Gracia’s men.
Developing into an extremely accomplished player and steadily going from strength to strength since joining Crystal Palace back in 2021, it’s been a joy to see him truly begin to flex his muscles this term.
Having banked over 2100 league minutes this campaign, it’s clear what an integral player he’s been for the Eagles, as the inordinately gifted 21-year-old’s emphatically proving why he’s so highly regarded, which he did so again on the weekend vs. Southampton.
“He’s an enormous talent,” explained new manager Roy Hodgson, who’s recently taken over from Patrick Vieira. “There is a great possibility of having a great career and wonderful future, and we can only hope at Crystal Palace we can give him a platform.”
A player who makes everything look so easy and effortless, it’s amazing seeing him in full flight, as he’s nigh on impossible when on top of his game.`
An absolute magician with the ball at his feet, the man with plenty of flair and confidence is a real nightmare to come up against. Not only does he possess a razor sharp change of pace and direction and wicked acceleration, but he also boasts a sublime first touch and Velcro-like ball control.
Super skillful and able to beat challengers in many ways using his quick feet, feints, shimmies, twists, turns or stepovers, this enhances his threat and means defenders find him extremely unpredictable to face off with.
To further compound things, the way he uses his strength to maintain possession or protect the ball, smartly adapts his receiving posture and scans wisely so he has a decent awareness of his surroundings helps him massively too.
A fast thinker and so quick to process situations, Olise’s shown his handy decision making both in 1v1s in slower passages and in transition, where he loves driving at backpedalling, disorganised backlines.
Accompanying the above with his creative passing, and this is another important string to his bow. Full of imagination, a wizard at disguising his intentions and forever on the look-out to oblige the runs of colleagues, the man with great vision and the execution to match does a terrific job of unlocking rearguards.
Whether it be hitting defence splitting through balls, vertical or diagonal line breaking passes, engaging in slick combination play, switching the angle of attacks, delivering sublime crosses and cutbacks or recycling possession, his distribution is a definite highlight.
Weighting his passes ideally and an elite ball striker, his worth is amplified when taking into account how excellent he is from set-pieces, where he can conjure danger using power, whip, dip, swerve and loft, plus score with precision.
Clever and awake to vacant spaces, his movement to find space to be a viable option deserves praise as well. So versatile and capable of playing all across the frontline, his comfort operating in a wide array of areas ensures he’s effective at receiving out wide and more centrally (in the 10 spaces between the lines and in the half spaces).
Keeping tabs on the positioning of defenders and when gaps arise, it’s impressive how shrewdly he times his runs in behind, down the channels and into the box.
Improving immensely on the defensive end of late with his work rate, pressing and tracking of runners, this is another indication of what a complete, disciplined player he’s becoming and how nicely he’s maturing.
“He got it all right, absolutely — both defending and attacking; we see what a wonderful player he is,” stated Hodgson after Olise’s game-changing display vs. Leeds.
Although he knows there’s still plenty of room for improvement to fine tune his game, all the signs are extremely positive that he’s well on his way to fulfilling his tremendous potential at Palace.
With rumours circulating in earnest that Arsenal are keen on acquiring his services in the summer, the Eagles appear set for a fierce battle to keep hold of their coveted asset.
But all that talk will be on hold for now, for Olise will be focusing on helping Palace stay clear of the dreaded drop zone, continuing to keep up his high level and honing his craft further.
If he can maintain his current trajectory and carry on working tirelessly to elevate himself, the possibilities are endless for what the gifted youngster can achieve in the beautiful game.
He’s just that good.