Wilfried Zaha

Glowing Zaha reacts to star turn, Palace win over Chelsea

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Right about now, Frank De Boer is saying, “But I planned on having that guy.”

Wilfried Zaha returned from injury and was easily the Man of the Match as Crystal Palace scored its first goals and managed its first win of the season on Saturday.

[ RECAP: Palace 2-1 Chelsea ]

That the win was over reigning champions Chelsea was even better, and Zaha figures this is where Palace’s season will really begin its table climb.

From the BBC:

“Me and Andros Townsend aren’t strikers so we run all over the gaff, but the boss told us that if one had the ball the other needs to get himself into the box.

“It’s a dream, managing to beat Chelsea at home. Deffo this is the start of a fightback – now we’ve got more confidence we can start to climb up the table.”

Good direction from manager Roy Hodgson who will be thrilled to see the twin goose eggs leave their places next to Palace’s name on the table.

Crystal Palace 2-1 Chelsea: Eagles stun Blues for deserved win

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  • Cabaye breaks CPFC season duck
  • Bakayoko levels with 1st PL goal
  • Zaha nabs winner

Wilfried Zaha‘s return propelled Crystal Palace to their first goals and points of the season in a shocking 2-1 win over Chelsea at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

Chelsea’s been stunned for the second time this season, with Palace joined Burnley as non-traditional powers to belt the Blues.

The win moves Palace four points back of the drop zone, while Chelsea sinks nine points behind leaders Manchester City.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The first danger? Well of course it came from Crystal Palace, as a healthy Wilfried Zaha dribbled through the box to test Thibaut Courtois with a low shot.

And then… Palace scored! It only took David Luiz clearing a ball off Cabaye’s knee to get past Courtois, but the Eagles will not be complaining with their 1-0 lead.

The lead didn’t last long, with Bakayoko nodding a corner kick off the ground and past Julian Speroni.

Marcos Alonso‘s shot near the spot was deflected out for a corner, and Michy Batshuayi‘s header off the corner was too high for the frame.

Mamadou Sakho then cued up electric returnee Zaha for a terrific finish just before halftime.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Cesc Fabregas cranked a 50th minute shot off the cross bar as Chelsea mounted its second rally of the contest.

Davide Zappacosta was introduced to the match when Victor Moses was injured, and helped Chelsea take control. Eden Hazard set Pedro up for a shot that Speroni saved in the 67th.

Charly Musonda made waves this week with an Instagram post regarding frustration wiht his playing time, then subbed into the match Saturday and almost provided an equalizer.

Hazard couldn’t get on the end of a terrific invitation from Zappacosta, and Palace was now 17 or so minutes from its first three points of the season.

Premier League Preview: Crystal Palace vs. Chelsea

Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images
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  • Away team has won five of six
  • Palace goalless, winless through seven
  • Chelsea leads all-time 21W-15D-10L

A fixture that has been anything but predictable gives moribund Crystal Palace a bit of hope versus Chelsea this weekend, though being at home has not been a boon to either London side in this series (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE ONLINE AT 10 A.M. ET SATURDAY

The visitors have claimed all three points on four-straight occasions between Palace and Chelsea, and the Blues will be keen to strike following a loss to Man City which dipped them six points back of the throne.

Both teams have their star attackers the fittest they’ve been this season, with Eden Hazard ready to roar for Chelsea and Wilfried Zaha‘s Palace return imminent.

But Chelsea has concerns with Alvaro Morata and N'Golo Kante out, though David Luiz returns from suspension.

What they’re saying

Palace’s Zaha on life at Selhurst Park“Players are not robots. You have got feelings. Bad games, good games, your emotions change all the time. Having someone who is just going to ask you now and then how you are makes a big difference, especially for me. It [feeling loved] is massive. I am a confidence player. So even just having the fans signing, “he’s just too good for you!” . . . these people proper love me. When my confidence is high I am able to do things that I do not even think I could do.”

Chelsea’s Hazard on his return“I missed football for three months [and] it’s not easy to come back after a big injury but I did. I worked out during the summer. I just want to play football. I will miss some games, I will play bad for some games. I just want to play football and try to bring the best of me.”

Prediction

It’s difficult to keep a straight face and pick Palace to get anything from a match right now, and even Zaha’s probable return coupled with some Chelsea injuries won’t lead us down that path. Chelsea 3-0.

Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha reportedly out injured

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Multiple reports claim Crystal Palace will be without Wilfried Zaha star forward for up to four weeks.

Zaha, 24, injured his right knee in the disappointing 3-0 home defeat to Huddersfield Town on the opening day of the Premier League season.

He left Selhurst Park in a knee brace and reports now suggest Zaha will be missing until mid-September.

This is a hammer blow for new Palace manager Frank De Boer as Zaha scored seven goals and added nine assists last season. That saw him named Palace’s Player of the Season and he signed a new five-year contract to ward off interest from Tottenham Hotspur, among others.

It was originally thought Zaha could be available for Palace’s trip to Anfield to face Liverpool this weekend, but he will now miss the Premier League game against Swansea City on Aug. 26, plus the League Cup clash with Ipswich Town and World Cup qualifiers for Ivory Coast in early September.

With pressure growing on FDB as he tries to push through an expansive style of play for the Eagles with a similar squad to the one which Sam Allardyce turned into a bastion of the long-ball game last season, losing the pace, power and trickery of Zaha is far from ideal.

In his absence Andros Townsend or Jeffrey Schlupp will fill in.

De Boer: West Brom was out to injure Palace star Zaha

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No shrinking violet, new Crystal Palace boss Frank De Boer was left fuming at West Bromwich Albion players following the PL Asia Trophy third place match on Saturday in Hong Kong.

While the focus could’ve been on Luka Milivojevic‘s gorgeous free kick (watch here), De Boer couldn’t get past the hard fouls aimed at his key attacker.

[ EXCLUSIVE: Strootman talks Roma w/ PST ]

West Brom gave away the free kick that led to the aforementioned goal by chopping down Zaha, and the foul was not an isolated incident.

From the BBC:

“They were looking for him, to injure him,” said De Boer.

“He’s one of the exciting players in the league. I don’t want to think he’d be out for two weeks or months.”

De Boer is no stranger to rough play, so this is not coming from a soft place. We doubt it’s going to change anything from Tony Pulis‘ men, though.