Lost possession 27 times: Palace star misses opportunity to impress potential suitor – opinion

Crystal Palace will be bitterly disappointed to come away with nothing from their trip to St. James’ Park on Saturday.

The Eagles were all square with Newcastle up until the 83rd minute and had arguably dominated the game. They ended up with 58% possession, and had twice as many shots as their opponents despite being away from home. However, it was the Toon who proved themselves to be far more clinical, and Miguel Almiron broke the deadlock with his first goal in 27 Premier League matches for the North East side.

Crystal Palace@3x 1 - Lost possession 27 times: Palace star misses opportunity to impress potential suitor - opinion

In attack, both Jordan Ayew and Christian Benteke did well, with both picking up SofaScore ratings of 7.4. Along with Patrick van Aanholt, they were Roy Hodgson’s best performing players. However, star man Wilfried Zaha was particularly wasteful, and struggled to create anything of note during the 90 minutes.

It was not as though he was on the periphery and didn’t try to make things happen. He attempted 12 dribbles and took part in 24 ground duels, but he won just four and eight respectively – in both cases, that works out at a ratio of just 33%. He also lost possession of the ball 27 times and gave away three fouls.

The Ivory Coast international has not been at his best so far this term. Last season, he managed 10 goals and five assists in the competition but, with almost half of the season gone, he has managed just three and one respectively.

There has been plenty of talk about a potential transfer to Chelsea in January. The Guardian reported earlier this month that the Blues are preparing to “turn up the heat” as they pursue the 27-year-old and, as such, Frank Lampard will have probably had an eye on the former Manchester United winger against Steve Bruce’s men.

He is unlikely to have been impressed with what he saw, though. The expectations at Chelsea, a club who have consistently qualified for the Champions League since Roman Abramovich completed a takeover in 2003, are so much higher than at Palace, and with Jadon Sancho also said to be in the Stamford Bridge outfit’s eyeline, Zaha could be playing himself out of that big move with displays like the one we saw on Tyneside.

Even if the south-west London side would still want to take him, showings like this would surely take a chunk off any expected transfer fee.

There is no doubting the forward’s ability to do something special, but for a club like Chelsea, that is not enough. With two matches to go before the window, he has it all to do if he wants to convince Lampard and co that he is the man for them.

In other news, one Palace man has outlined the club’s weak mentality.

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