Saturday’s game between Huddersfield and Crystal Palace will be remembered for the wonder-goal Wilfried Zaha scored to win it for Roy Hodgson’s men but having watched the game in the BT Sport studio, former Wales midfielder Robbie Savage launched into an extraordinary defence of the Eagles winger on BBC Radio which rightly drew praise from the club’s fan-base.
— BBC 5 Live Sport (@5liveSport) September 15, 2018
It has taken a fair few years for many to catch on but gradually, thanks to rants like the one Savage embarked upon on Saturday night, more and more people are starting to realise that opposition players do go out to unfairly target Wilfried Zaha from the very first minute week after week, with the inevitable conclusion bound to arrive in the form of a season-ending injury.
Savage’s anger appears to have spilled over whilst fielding a call from a Huddersfield fan on his way home from the game at the John Smith’s Stadium, with the conversation predictably revolving around the Palace talisman. Having come back from a two-week lay-off courtesy of a groin strain he picked up in training, Wilfried was once again singled out for rough treatment by the Terriers players, with one tackle in particular (from Mathias Jørgensen) looking as though it could have done some serious damage to the 25-year-old.
Yes, Zaha did put in a yellow-card worthy tackle during the first-half as a direct consequence of his frustration at referee Lee Mason’s lack of protection but as Savage rightly points out in the clip above, it’s of little surprise when he is being left out to dry by the officials week after week.
In the opening moments of our trip to Watford at the end of August, Wilf was on the end of a tackle from Capoue which could easily have ended his season. The referee in question was mere feet away from the incident with a clear line of sight and still failed to show the Hornets’ midfielder a red card, almost certainly because it was so early on in the game.
Without any tangible deterrent for targeting the Palace man, opposition players will continue to do it, making monologues like Robbie Savage’s extremely important.