This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
After an impressive start to the current Premier League campaign, in which Crystal Palace won four of their first eight games, a period of stagnation arrived.
The Eagles’ good form was briefly halted by a turbulent run of fixtures, as Roy Hodgson was forced to prepare his side for games against Manchester City, Arsenal, Leicester, Chelsea and Liverpool in consecutive weeks – a conglomeration of matches that merited just a single point.
However, that is now over, and a potentially season-defining run is upon the south Londoners as they face Bournemouth, Watford, Brighton, Newcastle, West Ham, Southampton and Norwich with just two points separating them from fifth-placed Tottenham.
Significantly, this particular fun of fixtures has come at just the right time for one man who is finally finding his stride.
The Ivorian didn’t score for the first 12 Premier League games of the season, with just a single assist to show for his efforts during that period.
However, after notching his first of the campaign against Liverpool two weeks ago, the former Manchester United man netted yet again against Burnley last time out while also delivering a performance from the top drawer.
Zaha – who admitted that his head was “all over the place” following a summer full of transfer speculation – scored the opening goal against the Clarets with a well-taken effort at the near post, while also recording two key passes.
“I’ve got to prove every time that I’m the top player I claim to be so I had to get over that quickly. Obviously my head was a bit all over the place at the beginning of the season but I had to nail down and just get on with it because the team deserved that.”
The 27-year-old also completed a game-high six dribbles, while also drawing three fouls from the opposition – more than any other player on the pitch.
Additionally, the Palace academy graduate showed his industrious side with two successful tackles, helping his side keep a fourth clean sheet of the campaign.
At a time where the south Londoners could shoot up the table going into the New Year with a favourable run of fixtures upon them, their talisman sent a message to Hodgson saying that he is in form and ready to help them do just that.
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