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Wilfried Zaha

‘What’s the point of Zaha?’ – Palace fans weigh in on another Vieira defeat

19:57 GMT 27/11/2021
Patrick Vieira and Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace
The performance of both head coach and star man have been questioned after Saturday’s defeat by Aston Villa

Crystal Palace star man Wilfried Zaha and head coach Patrick Vieira have both come in for criticism from the Eagles’ fans after their 2-1 defeat by Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa on Saturday.

In a game that saw two of the greatest midfielders in Premier League history on the dugout, it was Gerrard who had the better of his counterpart.

Vieira had already masterminded some eye-catching victories this season, having seen his side record victories over Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur.

It was a different story on Saturday afternoon as an early goal from Matt Targett alongside a stunning finish from John McGinn in the second half sealed all three points for Gerrard’s Villa.

A consolation goal from Marc Guehi was the only shining light for Vieira’s men at Selhurst Park, with both coach and players coming in for criticism as a result.

Vieira did make some bold calls in the course of the game, with the Frenchman’s decisions coming under much scrutiny from fans.

Perhaps the one decision that left many fans with contradictions was the choice to remove star man Zaha, while his side remained in search of a goal, although the Ivorian’s performance also generated some criticism from fans of the South London club.

The reaction so far

Throughout the course of the game, Palace had only three shots on goal and it could have been more if Zaha had been his usual self.

The Ivorian had the first real chance of the game after going past two Villa defenders but could only send his effort wide.

However, the 29-year-old cut a dejected figure he was walking off the pitch in the 72nd minute, with some supporters backing Vieira’s decision.

@publad posted: ‘What is even the point in Zaha he doesn’t even play footy he just rocks up to games to beef man on the pitch?’

@ChadBen08966678 said: ‘Zaha probably has the lowest football IQ in the league.’

However, another section of Palace fans had only their manager to blame for the defeat.

The Eagles were outplayed in midfield, as the partnership of Luka Milivojevic and Cheikhou Kouyate was ineffectual.

Elsewhere, Odsonne Edouard was brought in place of Zaha and was deployed on the flanks instead of his natural centre-forward position.

@Jbragz93 said: ‘What have we learnt today…Luka should not be anywhere near the first team. Loved him alongside [Yohan] Cabaye but never been the same since. Vieira actually subs Zaha (should have been [Christian Benteke] IMO) and Edouard is NOT a winger. We paid £15 mil for a striker! Anyway on to the next’

@CPFCwill20 added: ‘Our worst game, another set piece conceded, Luka and Kouyate will never work and play Edouard in his natural position. Got it all wrong today we missed [Joachim] Andersen and [James McArthur]. We move’

It was contrasting fortunes for both managers on the pitch as Gerrard became the first Villa manager since 1998 to win his first two games in charge of the club.

For Vieira, it is now back-to-back games without a victory, considering four goals in the process.

A return to winning ways will be the only agenda on the Frenchman’s mind when Palace travel to Elland Road on Tuesday to face Leeds United.

by Kolade Daniel