Wilfried Zaha has been a talismanic figure like no other for Crystal Palace in recent seasons, but he has struggled to rediscover his mojo since he scored a devastating individual goal to cap a tantalising slalom through Huddersfield’s defence back in mid-September.
If Palace are to survive the Premier League once again this season then they will need Zaha to provide a handful of individual moments of brilliance.
Roy Hodgson’s task is looking incredibly daunting after the Eagles suffered another defeat on the road against Everton on Sunday in a fixture which could easily have gone the other way.
But as they say: nothing goes your way when you’re scrapping for your life at the foot of the table – a notion which Palace served to epitomise in their weekend defeat.
Zaha has struggled to emulate the red-hot form which enabled him to bag 3 goals from his opening 4 fixtures this season, and Martin Keown was asked to explain why the Ivory Coast international has fallen flat recently in his weekly column as published by the Daily Mail.
‘Zaha seems hell-bent on proving to referees that he is being fouled. I would rather see him hell-bent on putting in performances to win matches for Crystal Palace.
‘We know he is being fouled but he must not let that get in the way of his brilliant talent. For all the time he is remonstrating, he is not creating or helping his team to victory.
‘When Zaha does not perform, Palace suffer as a result. It’s vital that he gets firing quickly.’
While there is no doubt that Zaha has been visibly furious on a handful of occasions this season after being professionally fouled by his opponent, it’s incredibly facile to pinpoint his entire struggle on that frustration alone.
Sure, Zaha cannot continue to let opponents and referees to get in his head as much as he has allowed them to this season, but his struggle is merely a byproduct of an overall club problem.
Palace’s crown jewel needs players around him to create space in the final-third and also to find him in promising positions, but their return of just 5 goals from 9 fixtures this season tells you all you need to know about how toothless they have been in attack.
Palace have pinned the entire creative responsibility on Zaha’s shoulders but he cannot always single-handedly fire the club to three points, regardless of whether refereeing decisions are unsettling him or not.
Crystal Palace fans – thoughts on the reason behind Zaha’s form? Let us know below!