Crystal Palace supporters have been in fine voice in recent times after seeing their team get back to winning ways in the Premier League over the weekend.
Roy Hodgson’s men went into their trip to Huddersfield Town off the back of three successive league defeats, with Liverpool, Watford, and Southampton getting the better of the Eagles in the last few weeks. Yet the London club picked up a vital three points at the John Smith’s Stadium to stop the rot, with influential ace Wilfried Zaha getting the all-important goal seven minutes before half time to secure a narrow 1-0 success for Hodgson’s side.
As such, there have been many thrilled Palace fans up and down the country in recent times, several of whom have been heaping praise on Ivory Coast international Zaha, who again proved his worth to the Eagles with another match-winning display in Yorkshire at the weekend.
And while the 25-year-old was a constant menace to the Terriers backline on Saturday, and thus certainly played his part in Palace’s success, it was the efforts of defender Mamadou Sakho, who earns £100,000 a week as per Spotrac, which appear to have gone slightly unnoticed.
The former Liverpool defender has been an ever-present in Hodgson’s side this term but was reunited with fellow centre back James Tomkins for the trip to Huddersfield, what with the latter missing the 2-0 loss to Southampton prior to the international break.
And the duo produced a commanding performance in the heart of the backline to help the Eagles to a clean sheet and thus all three points, with Sakho winning seven of the ten aerial duels he competed for at the John Smith’s Stadium, as well as making a team-high eight clearances over the course of the 90 minutes.
Add in a completed tackle, an interception, a block, and no fouls, and the 28-year-old read the game superbly to enable Palace to remain resolute at the back and thus not give Huddersfield a sniff of an opportunity, yet he also did the business on the ball as well.
The Frenchman, capped 28 times by his country at senior level, had more touches of the ball than any other Palace player (67), while his 85% pass success rate was better than the other three members of Hodgson’s backline – he gave them great composure when on the ball, while also delivered off it as well.
Special mentions must also go to fellow defender Tomkins, whose reintroduction into a backline that then kept a clean sheet cannot go unnoticed, as well as right back Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who again produced a professional and mature performance down the right-hand-side for Hodgson’s team.
So while talisman Zaha will again hit the headlines for providing the moment of brilliance to seal all three points for Palace on Saturday, defender Sakho was their unsung hero in victory over Huddersfield.
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