Wilfried Zaha is in the midst of what is undoubtedly his best season as a professional footballer to date, with yesterday’s performance away at Hull City almost certainly his best of the campaign so far.
On a day when Palace were desperate for all three points against a Tigers side who many felt were there for the taking from the off, Zaha, Christian Benteke and Frazier Campbell provided the only real moments of joy for those who had travelled to the KCOM Stadium, thanks to the often desperate nature of our play from a defensive perspective.
Admittedly, the opening goal of the game arrived in rather disgraceful circumstances after Hull’s Robert Snodgrass blatantly dived to win a spot kick with the referee just yards away from the incident but it was thanks to Zaha’s stellar individual display that the Eagles faithful would end the day feeling rather more content.
Shortly after the half-time interval, Wilfried tricked and turned his way past Snodgrass in the penalty area, drawing an obvious foul from the Scotsman and providing the aforementioned Benteke with the simple chance to notch his eight goal of the season. What was to follow though, was truly special, even by Zaha’s sky-high standards.
Having recieived the ball to feet on the edge of the opposition’s penalty area, Zaha toyed with the numerous defenders plotted up in front of him, jinking one way and then another to force himself a tad closer to goal before accelerating beyond them all to work an angle for a strike and firing a thunderbolt into the near-side roof of the hosts’ net. It was a moment of genuinely outrageous individual skill and invention, instantly silencing the numerous doubters Wilf has picked up in what is still a young career. Quite honestly, it seems foolish to suggest that Palace will score a goal better than that between now and May; it really was that good.
Incredibly, Zaha wasn’t finished there, providing a well weighed assist for Campbell’s late leveller following a predictable fight back from Hull, meaning that the academy graduate had a direct and pivotal role in all three of the Eagles’ goals on the day.
Palace fans everywhere have always loved Zaha but this term, his game has entered an entirely new realm. Long may it continue.