There were numerous candidates for Man Of The Match during Crystal Palace’s 3-0 win over Arsenal last night, including a certain academy graduate by the name of Wilfried Zaha.
For many of a red and blue persuasion, our game against the flailing Gunners had taken on the feel of a cup final long before kick-off. Having seen the rest of the Premier League fixtures play out over the previous 48 hours, we went into yesterday’s clash knowing that a victory would put us six points clear of Swansea in eighteenth, with Paul Clement’s side clinging onto just six more games to save themselves from relegation. Thankfully, our players delivered the goods in a big way.
From the moment the game began, Big Sam’s men were at the visitors, chasing down loose balls and probing for a breakthrough. When it did arrive, it was thanks to an assist from the aforementioned Zaha, who centred a ball for Townsend to power into the net from close range.
The second half saw Wilf take his game up another notch, happily offering himself as the out ball for a defence and midfield who were desperate to cling onto the lead they’d built during the opening period. Predictably, the second goal came from yet another Zaha assist, taking his tally up to nine for the Premier League season; the best of any player in the country barring De Bruyne, Eriksen and Sigurdsson.
As soon as Yohan Cabaye swept home the second in glorious fashion, Palace’s players and fans relaxed, prompting a third goal from the penalty spot just five minutes later. It was a magical night under the floodlights in SE25, led flamboyantly by a homegrown superstar.
The video above takes place with the score at 3-0 and Wilfried in true party mode. Rightly looking to kill time in the final minutes of the game, he was readily pulling out the full array of tricks and flicks in his arsenal, leading German World Cup winning midfielder Ozil to look on in despair as he danced his way around him in the corner of the pitch, much to the hilarity of the thousands of Palace fans crammed inside Selhurst Park.
We have got a truly special player on our hands. Our supporters have known that for years but now, finally, Wilf is getting the praise he deserves from across the game.