Wilfried Zaha stole the show in style as Crystal Palace cruised to a 2-1 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday afternoon.
Zaha, 27, scored a goal and supplied an assist as Roy Hodgson marked his triumphant return to his former club.
Palace took the lead almost immediately after Zaha slipped a sublime pass for Jairo Riedewald to open the scoring with a clinical finish inside the post.
Scott Parker’s side nearly bounced back but Ademola Lookman hit the woodwork twice, before Michy Batshuayi picked out Zaha with a pass for a simple tap-in by the back post to secure the victory.
The 17-cap Ivory Coast international, who earns wages worth £130,000-per-week and was once labelled a “genius” by Ian Holloway, has now scored five goals in his past six Premier League games for Palace, which is more than he managed in the entire league campaign last season.
SofaScore gave him a high grade of 8.8 – he took three shots on target, completed seven out of eight dribble attempts (87%), and won nine out of fifteen ground duels (60%), whilst he created two big chances, took 51 touches of the ball, and was fouled twice. If you look at his heatmap, you can see a hub of activity in the opposing half, particularly on the left-hand side of the box, which suggests that he continued to cause the Cottagers all sorts of problems by cutting in from the left wing.
Sky Sports rated him at 9/10, whilst football.london went one lower, insisting he “was a constant threat in the first half, back to his best and got a deserved goal in the second half, tapping home from close range despite a collision with the post.”
Palace have had a promising start to the season, including an incredible 3-1 win away at Manchester United, as he scored twice against his former club. However, their performances had taken a turn for the worse in recent weeks, with consecutive defeats to Everton and Chelsea before the international break.
With that being said, Hodgson’s side seem to have discovered a resurgence in form, as Zaha put in another impressive performance. One thing’s for sure, they will need him to be at his very best if they are to avoid the relegation battle this season. The Palace boss must keep his most prized possession at all costs, despite growing concerns over his commitment to the club.