X
Follow The Sportsman on Facebook
Football  /

How Bakary Sako Went From Bit-Part Player To Guaranteed Starter - And Top Scorer - At Crystal Palace

Bakary Sako has been in eye-catching form for Crystal Palace
Bakary Sako has been in eye-catching form for Crystal Palace

When Bakary Sako began his Crystal Palace career with two goals and an assist in his first two Premier League appearances in August 2015, there was reason to believe he could keep Yannick Bolasie out of the team for the foreseeable future. The Mali international’s productive start at Selhurst Park proved to be a false dawn, however, with Sako failing to either score or set up another top-flight goal until December 2017.

That effort had a degree of good fortune to it, the former Wolverhampton Wanderers winger seeing the ball ricochet off his leg and beat Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes after his initial shot had been saved by the Brazilian. 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 defeat by Brighton and Hove Albion in the FA Cup third round.

Those goals, together with his excellent all-round performance at the Amex Stadium, persuaded Roy Hodgson to include Sako in the starting XI for Saturday’s meeting with Burnley. The 29-year-old repaid his manager’s faith by netting the only goal of the game, a vicious left-footed finish which arrowed into the corner of Nick Pope’s net.

Deployed alongside Christian Benteke in a 4-4-2 formation, Sako also impressed with his off-the-ball movement. Not only has Benteke struggled for goals this term, he 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.

“Before this season he spent a lot of time on the bench and I don’t quite know how many chances he’s had, but he’s obviously not done well enough in them to force himself into the team,” Hodgson said after Saturday’s victory, which moved Palace up to 12th place in the table with 15 games to play.

“But he has done very well recently for us. He would have played at any rate today because of the rate of injuries we’ve had, but in fact, he was certainly in the team merit due to his last performances. It is very good that he could chip in with another good goal and I thought his first-half performance was very good.”

With his contract set to expire at the end of June, Sako has plenty to play for in the coming months. If he continues to contribute goals, Palace will be keen to keep the Malian around.

Register with The Sportsman to personalise your news feed with your favourite sports and team.
Latest Football Articles
Bet Slip
Log In
Open
Settled
Deposit
Quick Deposit
Deposit
CV2
Deposit Funds
Change Payment Method
Bet Placed
Retain Selections
Clear Slip
Bet Slip 0
| Join Now
Balance: £0.00
Refresh
Log Out
The line, odds or availability of your selections has changed.
Remove All
Singles
Click a price to add a selection
Multiples
To view multiples
Multiple options are restricted for the highlighted selections
The line, odds or availability of your selections has changed.
Accept Changes
Total Stake:
£ 0.00

Estimated Returns:
£ 0.00
£ Place Bet
Bet on Bet365 website
New To Bet365?

Bore Draw Money Back

Refund for any football game that finishes 0-0 on all First/Last/Anytime Goalscorer, Correct Score, Half-Time/Full-Time or Scorecast bets. Only available to new and eligible customers. Bet restrictions and T&Cs apply. 18+. BeGambleAware.org.

T&C's Apply 18+

CLAIM HERE
Bore Draw Money Back

Refund for any football game that finishes 0-0 on all First/Last/Anytime Goalscorer, Correct Score, Half-Time/Full-Time or Scorecast bets. Only available to new and eligible customers. Bet restrictions and T&Cs apply. 18+. BeGambleAware.org.


Up to £100 in bet credits

Open Account Offer

Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Min deposit £5 and 1x settled bet requirement to release Bet Credits. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.


BET HERE
Up to £100 in bet credits

Open Account Offer

Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Min deposit £5 and 1x settled bet requirement to release Bet Credits. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.

Bets are accepted in accordance with the operator's rules
and terms and conditions. Hillside (UK Sports) LP is licensed
and regulated by the British Gambling Commissioner
(Licence number 39563). Registered Office Hillside (UK Sports) LP
(registration number 117), Unit 1.1, First Floor, Waterport Place,
2 Europort Avenue, Gibraltar.
DON'T HAVE A
BET365 ACCOUNT? New Customer Offer
The Sportsman is an officially endorsed bet365 betting partner. All bets are placed securely via our API link-up with bet365 and no data or transactional information is sahred with or accessible by the sportsman.com. Bets are accepted in accordance with the operator's Rules and Terms and Conditions.