In the seven years that have passed since Wilfried Zaha made his professional debut for Crystal Palace, question marks over the winger’s “end product” have been ubiquitous. Yesterday, it was the turn of Ray Parlour to jump on the bandwagon.
After seeing the Ivory Coast international linked with a £35 million January move to Arsenal, (a ridiculous suggestion given the low fee and timing of said transfer) Parlour was asked for his thoughts on Zaha’s game, giving him the opportunity to clear his throat and drag up the well-worn nationwide doubts over the wide man’s “end product”.
At this juncture I feel it’s only fair to state that Ray Parlour bagged a grand total of 32 goals in 12 years at Arsenal, a spell which saw him make 466 appearances for the Gunners. For the purpose of context, Wilfried Zaha has managed to score 36 times for Crystal Palace in just 263 appearances, with 15 of those coming in just 105 Premier League outings, a ratio which I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you, walks all over that of Parlour’s.
Just because I feel I’m on something of a roll now, I would like to point out that last term, Wilf scored seven Premier League goals for the Eagles, a total which Parlour never managed in a single season for Arsenal despite playing in what was an undoubtedly more talented squad. Of course, I’m not reeling off these statistics in a bid to suggest that Parlour wasn’t good enough for Arsenal, I’m just highlighting how silly Ray can be made to look when rubbishing the idea of Zaha making the cut at The Emirates given a record which is undeniably superior to his own.
The constant questions over Wilf’s end product are a consequence of media hatchet-jobs during the wide-man’s troubled spell at Old Trafford. Unfortunately, if you throw enough s**t at the wall, some of it will eventually stick and in Zaha’s case, the press have clung onto that particular line with a vice-like grip.
I personally hope Arsenal, Spurs and every other “big” club on the planet continue to hold such blinkered views on him, given my hope of seeing him play in red and blue for years to come, but in this particular instance, I just didn’t feel happy giving Parlour a free pass.