Wilfried Zaha - One to Watch in Fantasy Football?

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Roy Hodgson defended his decision to substitute Wilfried Zaha while his side was still level with Newcastle: “Ruben can cause a threat coming from deep and we thought it might be a good idea to give Wilf a rest and get fresh legs on.”
Roy Hodgson defended his decision to substitute Wilfried Zaha while his side was still level with Newcastle: “Ruben can cause a threat coming from deep and we thought it might be a good idea to give Wilf a rest and get fresh legs on.”

Wilfried Zaha came back from a two-month injury and immediately showed all Palace fans that there is absolutely nothing to worry about. He proved how good he is by sending Azpilicueta back to Spain, and is currently the only Crystal Palace player to even score this season.

The winger scored scored seven goals last season and assisted 11 times, one of the highest goals/assist ratios in the Premier League last season.

Zaha had an immense game on his return from injury against Chelsea, but he and Palace struggled to break down Newcastle this weekend. Just how good a prospect is Zaha for our fantasy teams?


All aboard?

Palace had to play some tough fixtures while Zaha was out, however in their next few games, the Eagles play West Ham, Spurs at Wembley and Everton. All three games Palace will fancy their chances against.

Palace play in London for their next four games against West Ham, Spurs, Everton and Stoke. Spurs being the only away game for the Eagles. West Ham are yet to win away from home in the league, conceding 11 in five games.

Spurs beat Liverpool convincingly but struggled to break down weaker teams at Wembley in previous weeks. Meanwhile, Everton have just sacked Ronald Koeman and the side looks out of sorts, while Stoke are 17th, level on points with the Toffees.

The next four games present a great time for fantasy managers to bring in Zaha. Palace play three of the other bottom five along with a London derby against Spurs at Wembley.

Serge Aurier was deployed on Spurs’ left to deal with Mohamed Salah’s pace at Wembley.
Serge Aurier was deployed on Spurs’ left to deal with Mohamed Salah’s pace at Wembley.
How does Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s return affect Zaha?

However, Palace won’t be able to rely on Zaha solely for their goals. Players like Ruben Loftus-Cheek (RLC) and Townsend will be instrumental in how Zaha plays. The Ivorian winger played upfront again for Roy Hodgson’s Palace but was withdrawn after 77 minutes for RLC. However, it‘s unlikely that Zaha will miss out following the return of RLC but he could miss out on playing upfront.

RLC had been in ok form stats wise, creating the most chances of any Palace player while Zaha was out. Hodgson will recognise that, and with someone finally able to score the chances RLC creates, it could be beneficial for both players to start.

Both Zaha and RLC play out of position, with Zaha is still classed as a midfielder on both Fantasy Premier League and the Yahoo fantasy format and RLC playing as a number 10.

Against Chelsea, Zaha’s stats were very impressive. He completed six dribbles past the Chelsea defence, winning eight duels and creating three chances and two key passes, not to mention the goal that he scored.

Loftus-Cheek is averaging 51.6 mins per attempt and 72 mins per chance created for Palace this season.
Loftus-Cheek is averaging 51.6 mins per attempt and 72 mins per chance created for Palace this season.
Eagles struggle against static Newcastle

Palace struggled to break down Newcastle at St James’ Park. Zaha had just one of his side’s 10 shots against the Toon. However, Elliot did not have to make a single save at Palace failed to hit the target. Their 4-4-2 is built to counter, with Zaha and Townsend ideally dovetailing at speed against a back-peddling defence. Against a static defence, the pair have no space to attack and the pair are not the most dangerous in the air (although Zaha’s best chance did come from a header which he should have scored from).

READ MORE: FPLHints made Wilfried Zaha his comeback pick against Newcastle

Zaha as a fantasy prospect

Overall, I’d 100% recommend Wilfried Zaha for fantasy managers due to his fixtures, and how much Palace will rely on his services to the team. Newcastle put a dampener on Palace’s new 4-4-2, but the North-East side have kept three clean sheets in their last six games, and have not conceded more than two goals in the league so far. 

Zaha looked sharper than ever against Chelsea and could reward those managers massively who take a leap of faith with him.

 

 

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