Why Wilfried Zaha is a crucial figure for Crystal Palace
Wilfried Zaha arrived at Crystal Palace to make a difference and he went from saviour to Messiah in no time. Under Roy Hodgson, Zaha has played a peripheral role for the club over the last one year. The Ivorian netted 9 goals and provided 3 assists in 29 appearances for the Eagles last season.
He has started this season in fiery form as well, picking up 2 goals in 3 games for Palace. The 25-year-old has flourished after being shifted to a striker’s role under Hodgson. Zaha destroyed both Fulham and Watford, scoring superb goals against both clubs. (Stats Courtesy – Premier League)
Using his pace and trickery, Zaha is capable of taking on any defender in the league. The Ivorian endured a frustrating campaign with Manchester United but has unleashed his full potential with the Eagles. He has soared to new heights.
Crystal Palace were unable to get past a rigid Southampton side last week, losing 2-0 at Selhurst Park. The man of the moment, Zaha was out injured and was unable to start the game. In his absence, new signing Jordan Ayew was handed his first start for the club alongside Christian Benteke.
Given that Benteke has been in terrible form in front of goal and Ayew is still finding his feet at the club, Palace were struggling to get going. The Eagles lacked energy and cutting edge in the final third due to the absence of Zaha. Roy Hodgson’s men took a total of 20 shots in the whole game, of which none were on target.
Zaha, on the other hand, has taken a total of 6 shots, of which 4 were on target. The Ivorian is supremely clinical and prolific in front of goal. He can twist and turn from any tight situation and create a goal out of nothing. (Stats Courtesy – Whoscored)
The former Manchester United winger has come to Palace’s rescue every time they’ve cried out for help. Despite playing as a winger initially, Zaha has seamlessly transitioned himself into a classy striker.
Palace rewarded the 25-year-old with a fresh five-year bumper contract which keeps Zaha at Selhurst Park until 2023 (The Guardian). If Palace are to continue their impressive resurgence under Roy Hodgson, Zaha is going to have to play a major role in it. However, it’s clear that Crystal Palace missed him badly against Southampton.