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Crystal Palace: Zaha disappointed vs Chelsea

Crystal Palace‘s disappointing post-World Cup form continued on Sunday as they narrowly lost out 1-0 against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Patrick Vieira‘s side created plenty of chances against the Blues but were unable to find a way past an inspired Kepa Arrizabalaga, with the Spaniard producing fine saves from Michael Olise, Tyrick Mitchell and Cheick Doucoure during the 90 minutes.

In the end, a well-worked corner routine would be the difference between the two sides, as Kai Havertz headed in from Hakim Ziyech’s cross to score the only goal of the game and leave the Eagles in 12th position in the top flight.

One man who disappointed in the defeat at Stamford Bridge, as Palace failed to find the back of the net once again, was Wilfried Zaha.

The Ivory Coast international was trusted to start up front but struggled in an unfamiliar position, with Vieira seemingly not keen on either Odsonne Edouard or Jean-Philippe Mateta as the main striker options in his side.

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As per Sofascore, Zaha would manage to complete just eight passes in the 90 minutes, which was the fewest of any player to start the game, despite him having 37 touches of the ball.

It was clear that the former Manchester United man was struggling to hold the ball up as a striker in Vieira’s system, failing to win any of his four aerial duels during the game, while he also was successful in just five of his 17 ground duels, which suggests that Chelsea’s centre-backs well and truly had the better of him.

This resulted in a 23% duel success rate for Zaha, while he would also lose possession on 16 occasions, which suggests that he was guilty of costing the Eagles far too often when they came forward at Stamford Bridge.

Considering the winger has averaged 23.3 passes in the top flight, it is clear that he was far less involved than usual when playing in an unfamiliar position on Sunday afternoon.

The 30-year-old has now failed to score or assist in any of his last five Premier League games, with Palace scoring just two goals in those games, which suggests that he must up his game if Palace are going to avoid being dragged into a relegation battle this season.