Player Watch : Wilfried Zaha

When Wilfried Zaha burst onto the scene his talent was enough to catch the eye of Manchester United and gain a dream move. For various reasons the move didn’t work with many surmising the move came too early in his development. When a permanent move back to Crystal Palace was achieved Zaha was once again a big fish in a small pond and over the last couple of years won the hearts of the fans with some great displays and important goals.

At Goodison Park on saturday he was the player on people’s lips that they were excited to see play. Everyone loves a player who will dribble, who will attack defender’s and one that scores goals. Zaha this season hasn’t set the world alight. With only three goals you can see why Palace are starting to shake a bit. Like all teams they rely on their big name star to produce the goods. On the lead up to the game against Everton Zaha voiced his concerns about the lack of protection he receives from officials. He may have a point. In the premier league Zaha (83) is the second most fouled player behind Jack Grealish (111).

On this Zaha said “It’s definitely frustrating. I end up losing my head because I feel the officials are the only ones who can protect me. I’m never going to stop dribbling. All I want to do is play football for as long as possible and I may seem like I’m always moaning but only me, my team and my doctors see my cuts at the end of the game”

Zaha lined up against Republic of Ireland full back Seamus Coleman who is 31 now and has dipped in and out of the starting eleven this season and this was going to lead to an interesting battle. Would Zaha destroy an ageing Coleman? Well, we found out the answer to that question within the first ten minutes. And it was an emphatic no!

The body language of both players couldn’t have been more different. Zaha looked disinterested from the first kick of a ball. But it was within the first ten minutes when Zaha tried to beat Coleman with pace down the outside in Evertons final third and the tenacious Irishman out muscled and out fought the Palace man. This was the very moment that Zaha downed tools. The meaning of his quote “I’m never going to stop dribbling” only days before faded in one swift battle and one swift moment. The following 20 minutes seen Zaha stroll around the left hand side getting beaten to every ball from the classy Coleman.

In the last 15 minutes of the first half generally every touch of a ball Zaha passed it backwards. No desire to attack, no desire to use his skill set, no desire to fight for his team or the wonderful support that Palace had brought with them. The second half brought much of the same. He did gain an assist but there was nothing to that and Pickford knows he could have done better. Roy Hodgson needs to give Zaha a wake up call or Palace could find them selves in trouble, and soon.

Overall, it was a disappointing day for Palace even though they may feel they should have gotten something from the game. And a disappointing performance from Zaha that is very worrying because every player has his off day, but Zaha showed lack of interest, lack of desire and a general lack of care about his own performance from the start and in turn let his team down badly. After Zaha’s purple patch over the last couple of seasons many people questioned why big clubs haven’t come in and snapped him up. It is becoming more apparent now why this is so.

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference”

Rating : 3/10

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