Crystal Palace’s Friday night loss at the hands of Newcastle United highlighted that a major problem still remains.
Wilfried Zaha is still relied on far too heavily and without him, the team continue to come up short.
Zaha was missing from Friday’s game due to self-isolation requirements after travels with his Ivory Coast team during the international break.
It was the final game Zaha would miss. After Palace’s dismal display at Burnley in the game previous, Palace fans were hoping for some improvement at Selhurst Park on Friday night.
However, fans were left disappointed. Two late goals from Callum Wilson and Joelinton meant the Magpies left with all three points, despite Palace creating chances throughout.
The game itself highlighted Palace’s struggle to finish opportunities without Zaha.
There is newfound creativity in the side with the arrival of Eberechi Eze, and improvement up front with formidable finisher Michy Batshuayi.
The team is arguably Palace’s strongest ever Premier League side, even without main man Zaha.
Even with more depth and an improving team, another defeat highlights that there seems to be no plan B once Zaha isn’t available.
It was the first home defeat since September for the Eagles, a record that Wilfried Zaha was a massive part of.
The away defeat to Burnley meant Palace haven’t won an away game without Zaha since January 2017.
The two games Zaha has missed beg the question of why Palace still can’t seem to adapt without him.
A question which many would steer towards veteran manager Roy Hodgson. After three years in the job the Eagles manager still has no answer to the Zaha dilemma.
With his contract expiring in the summer however, it seems too late for Hodgson to find a new way to play without Zaha.
Instead, the Eagles have to hope their star man is back in firing form after his absence and can stay fit and healthy for the remainder of the season.
Any further absences from Zaha could drag Palace into the danger zone, and their last two results show that he is still their key to success.
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