This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Crystal Palace take on Wolves this Sunday, where they will be looking to continue their fine record at Selhurst Park so far this season.
Having had one of the worst home records in the Premier League last term – only relegated Huddersfield picked up fewer points at home – the Eagles have a win and a draw from their two league matches in SE25 this term.
A key aspect of Roy Hodgson’s side getting a result against Wolves – who are yet to win in the league – will be the form of Wilfried Zaha, who hasn’t scored a goal or registered an assist yet this season.
With Matt Doherty starting Thursday’s Europa League defeat to Braga, we presume that Adama Traore will begin this Sunday’s match in the right wing-back role.
Manager Nuno Espirito Santo has often played Traore on the right ahead of a three-man defensive duo, allowing him to both sprint back and charge forward, and he did so against both Everton and Chelsea.
Traore is a much weaker defensive option to Doherty, if not a striking contrast to the Irishman in terms of athleticism.
While the former loves to attack – shown in his 2.5 dribbles completed per game this term – he can often lack the defensive nous required for such a role. Traore averages just 0.3 interceptions, 0.5 tackles and 0.3 blocks per game in the league.
In Zaha’s case, the Ivorian is arguably one of the trickiest players in the league, completing 3.4 dribbles per game and attracting plenty of interest from frustrated opponents – he gets fouled 3.6 times per game.
Traore’s lack of defensive composure, coupled with Zaha’s tricky nature, should see the Eagles talisman enjoy his time down the left-flank this Sunday if Palace switch him to the opposite wing.