Crystal Palace head into Saturday’s clash with West Bromwich Albion having the luxury choice over whether to include Wilfried Zaha from the start.
However, the time has now come for Roy Hodgson to include the Ivorian from the start and there are no better opponents in which to do that.
Put simply, Zaha has been the Eagles’ best player this season, a view backed up by the seasonal WhoScored ratings for Crystal Palace’s squad.
No player in the Palace squad this season has got anywhere near his levels of productivity, with next highest scorer Christian Benteke sitting on just five goals for the season.
Coming up against West Bromwich Albion, too, Zaha will be confident on improving on his personal record.
So far throughout his career, he has hit four goals against the Baggies, including two in Palace’s 5-1 destruction in the reverse fixture this season.
Only against Leicester City and Brighton and Hove Albion has Zaha scored more goals, so Hodgson really should be contemplating including him from the start today.
Another reason why Zaha should be introduced is Palace’s infamously poor record without him. Since the start of the 2015/16 season, the winger has been unavailable on 28 occasions in the Premier League. Of those matches, Palace have won just five.
Extrapolated over a 38-game season, this would give the club approximately seven victories – only enough to see them potentially looking down the barrel of relegation.
Whilst they are some way off that territory this year, a win against West Brom would further quell any lingering fears of a survival battle, and key to that will surely be Wilfried Zaha.