Crystal Palace were able to bounce back from their 3-1 loss to Manchester United in midweek as they put in a brilliant performance away at Burnley, with goals from Wilfried Zaha and Michy Batshuayi burying the Clarets after Phil Bardsley hit the back of his own net.
Zaha’s strike was the latest of six goal contributions (five goals and one assist) in his last seven games and the Ivorian is finally getting back to his sparkling best after a fairly uninspiring first half of the season; the winger may have hit a purple patch but there is another player in the Eagles ranks who has been putting in man of the match displays since August.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s stellar showings at right-back this season have surely seen the number 29 attract interest from a number of clubs in the top-six and his shift on Saturday was no exception, as he made his return to the lineup having been absent last time out through injury.
Joel Ward deputised against the Red Devils and applied the end product that Wan-Bissaka has largely lacked this season as he found the net with a brilliant diving header – the latter, though, was on hand to deliver a perfect, fizzing ball into the feet of Batshuayi, who fired home without hesitation at the weekend.
Despite formerly being a winger, the assist was only the 21-year-old’s second of the season and his first since opening day, when he fed in Zaha against Fulham.
The Englishman was his typical, battling best on the back foot, as he completed a whopping 7 tackles and as many clearances, although the threat he posed going forward was equally important.
His 2 dribbles and 64 touches show his keenness to get on the ball and at the Burnley defence – this is what earned him the assist – and, if he can provide balls into the box with such accuracy more often, he will be even more crucial to Palace’s success.
Patrick van Aanholt chalked up five goals and an assist last term as he struck up a lethal partnership with Zaha down the left flank but he is now only one contribution ahead of Wan-Bissaka in what has been an underwhelming campaign for the 9-cap Netherlands international.
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The 28-year-old’s attacking threat was the only thing he boasted over his younger counterpart and he is now in danger of losing that if Wan-Bissaka can add more assists to his game – the former Sunderland man is often the weak point in the Eagles’ back line defensively.