Crystal Palace crushed a ten-man West Bromwich Albion in a comfortable 5-1 win at the Hawthorns on Sunday afternoon.
The Eagles took an early lead after Darnell Furlong diverted the ball into the back of his own net, before the Baggies hit back with a goal from Chelsea loanee Connor Gallagher before the break.
But Palace weren’t to be denied the spoils as they put Slaven Bilic’s side to the sword in the second half. Both Christian Benteke and Wilfried Zaha bagged a brace and Eberechi Eze put in a near-perfect performance. We must reserve a special mention to Benteke as well, who worked tirelessly throughout the game and reaped the rewards.
However, cometh the hour, cometh the man – Zaha was back to his very best as he marked his return to the starting line-up with a double after testing positive for coronavirus. It’s no secret Roy Hodgson’s side have struggled in his absence and he set the tone almost immediately when Furlong turned his cross into the net.
West Brom’s woes continued as Matheus Pereira was sent off for kicking out at Patrick van Aanholt, which gave Zaha the license to roam free and run at their defence.
SofaScore graded the 28-year-old with a high rating of 9.1 out of ten for his dominant display – which was higher than any other player on the pitch, including his strike partner – as he won eight out of his 15 duels overall, made 24/29 passes (83%) and successfully completed four dribble attempts.
Zaha took 50 touches of the ball and clearly made the most out of the possession as the titan took two shots on target, two shots off target, had two shots blocked and was fouled four times, which shows that he was a constant thorn in Bilic’s side throughout the game, particularly in the second half.
It’s fair to say that Palace have lacked a real impetus in attack over the past couple of games. With the Ivory Coast international back amongst their ranks, they looked like a real threat going forwards, as the Eagles scored five away goals for the first time in the top flight.
In nine appearances in the Premier League so far this season, €40m-valued (£36m) Zaha has now scored seven goals and supplied two assists, whilst he is averaging 2.7 shots, 1.4 key passes and 1.7 dribbles per game, via WhoScored.
With the winter transfer market set to open in just under a month’s time, Palace may have to brace themselves for a bidding war for their most valuable asset off the back of these impressive performances.