Wilfried Zaha is a dividing figure in the eyes of football fans across the UK, but thanks to research recently carried out in the national press, the Palace winger’s damaged reputation may have to be reassessed.
As an almost ever-present member of Alan Pardew’s starting XI, the fleet-footed wide man appears to function best when playing on the opposite flank to Yannick Bolasie, with the pair adopting a dual assault on defences from week to week.
Whilst Wilfried’s end product has often been the focus for scrutiny from many, there are few who can find fault in his play with the ball at his feet, given the flicks and tricks he regularly deploys alongside the lightning-quick turn of pace he is able to call upon at the drop of a hat.
Since bursting into the thoughts of Palace fans everywhere in the 2010-11 campaign, Zaha’s buccaneering runs have been synonymous with the club’s energetic counter-attacking style of play, afforded extra weight by Dougie Freedman’s decision to sign the aforementioned Yannick Bolasie a year or so after Wilfried first made his mark.
There is no question that Zaha still has a huge amount to work on before he can be considered the truly finished article in SE25, but as the feature attached at the top of the page demonstrates, his talents certainly proved to be a major headache for full-backs across the Premier League throughout the 2015/16 campaign.
Having not been given even the slightest look in to Roy Hodgson’s England squad this summer, it’s telling that Wilf comes out ahead of so many “star names” over the course of an entire Premier League calender in one specific category, proving that the image he’s been labelled with by countless talking heads is unquestionably unfair if not downright inaccurate.
As fans who watch him every week, it’s not a surprise for us to discover that he’s leading the way in this particular element of the game, but it’s still comforting to see the statistics (without any hint of bias) demonstrating what we all suspected to be the case from the very start.