Whilst Yohan Cabaye’s opening goal against Chelsea sparked scenes of wild relief across Selhurst Park, it was Wilfried Zaha’s goal just before half-time that really lifted the roof off the place.
Wilfried Zaha scoring the winner, on his return from injury, against the Champions. Sensational finish. pic.twitter.com/KbC16712FT
— Sam 🔸 (@SWPalace) October 15, 2017
Having been out of first-team action for two months heading into the game, Palace’s talisman was tasked with playing as an out-and-out striker by Palace boss Roy Hodgson; a job that he took to like a figurative duck to water from the very first minute.
For years, the academy graduate has been plagued by questions over the quality of his “end product” most notably from BBC pundit and all-round doom-monger Alan Shearer but over the last year or two, Wilf has set about consistently ramming the criticism of “experts” back down their throats.
Whilst the man himself admitted after the game that both he and Andros Townsend are the polar opposite of what you would describe as a “natural striker” his attempts to unsettle the Chelsea defence by remaining hugely busy throughout worked wonders, with every member of the Blues’ back-line looking nervous when he made his way into the final third.
Although Wilf was keen to play down his suitability for the role, the composure and skill he showed when slotting the ball beyond the reach of Thibaut Courtois should not go unnoticed. Having read the intentions of the marauding Mamadou Sakho to a tee, Zaha kept his line perfectly on the edge of the penalty before taking the Frenchman’s slid pass in his stride, cutting inside Azpilicueta, prodding the merest of touches to set himself fully and curling the ball beautifully into the far corner of the Belgian number one’s net. Make no mistake, it was a strike of the highest quality.
You can never be sure how long videos including footage of Premier League games are likely to remain viewable, given the haste with which regulators seek to get them removed but if you’re quick, you’ll be able to re-live Zaha’s goal as often as you want.
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