Premier League winners and losers is giddy after that weekend…
Wilfried Zaha and Crystal Palace
This has not been an easy summer for Wilfried Zaha (and that was before Patrice Evra fuelled inaccurate and harmful rumours to millions of viewers on live television). He has long been adamant that he wants to leave Palace for a second time in search of European football and instructed his agent to sound out potential suitors. But with Palace understandably holding out for a huge fee and a soon-to-be-28-year-old having little sell-on value, Zaha is stuck at Selhurst Park.
That might have caused other players to throw their toys out of the pram or be left on the bench while the transfer window remains open. Zaha saw one big-club move go sour and he may now have missed a chance to enjoy his best years at another. We have seen the strategy before: Leaks that you are disillusioned and a victim of your previous loyalty, subsequent patchy form.
Instead Zaha has driven Palace on again, scoring three goals in two early-season wins to evaporate doubts about a club drifting under Roy Hodgson and in danger of being sucked into a relegation battle. If the victory over Southampton came via a dose of good fortune, they fully merited their win at Old Trafford with Zaha the catalyst and Zaha the captain. Handing him the armband was a masterstroke of man-management by Hodgson.
It might get better still. With Eberechi Eze and Michy Batshuayi to come into Palace’s first-choice