Crystal Palace’s Zaha, Schlupp draw level with Leicester City’s Ndidi, Mahrez after stunning comeback

Crystal Palace Football Club overcame a two-goal deficit and fought their way back to salvage a 2-2 draw at home against Leicester City. The reigning Premier League champions took the lead within the first ten minutes of the game, with an early goal from veteran defender Robert Huth. At the beginning of the second half, Algeria’s Riyad Mahrez launched a hopeful long ball to the pacey Jamie Vardy. Tracked well by Ghanaian defender and former Leicester player Jeffrey Schlupp, Vardy adeptly trapped the ball, creating room from Schlupp, and curled a shot with his left at the keeper’s bottom right post. At this point, it seemed the match was sealed. But immediately after Vardy’s goal, Yohan Cabaye got his team back in it. And at the 70-minute mark, the Congolese-Belgian Christian Benteke imposed his physicality on the Leicester defender and nodded home a bullet header from a deep cross by Andros Townsend. A very entertaining match that left me with some impressions of the four African players that featured in the game.

Wilfried Zaha is a frustrating player to watch

Sometimes I wonder why he was highly sought after by Sir Alex Ferguson and touted to be the next big thing at Manchester United.

Zaha image
Zaha celebrating his goal against Shrewsbury Town in September 2015

He is a winger blessed with speed and strength and he always runs with a purpose. However, there are times where his directness seems wayward; he runs without really an end product in mind. More often than not, his powerful runs end with a dribble out of bounds for a goal kick, a misplaced pass, or a hopeful dive as he tries to attract the referee’s attention for a free-kick. This is his best season, as he is fourth in the league in assists with nine.
The Ivorian has six goals in the Premier League as well, which isn’t too bad. I just wish his performances were more consistent, resembling those of Arsenal at home or Chelsea away. When he is in form, he creates havoc for the opponents. He just needs some consistency.


Left-back is not Schlupp’s ideal position

It was quite evident in the game against Leicester that Schlupp is out of sorts in the left-back position for Crystal Palace. He has the pace to track down attackers that are a few yards ahead of him. However, his defensive positioning is a liability. In the Vardy goal, Schlupp’s positioning was too close to the Leicester striker. Thus, when Vardy stopped the ball, Schlupp’s momentum carried him beyond the English striker, resulting in the wide open space for Vardy to aim and eventually score.

Palace certainly miss the services of Senegalese left-back Pape Souare, who is out injured. His positioning would have done Palace a great deal of good in preventing the second Leicester goal.

Wilfred Ndidi is a promising player

After losing N’Golo Kanté to Chelsea Football Club last summer, Leicester suffered the consequences of their influential defensive midfielder, conceding 30 goals in their first 14 Premier League games, a lot more than last season. After purchasing Nigerian midfielder Ndidi from Genk Football Club, he has been impressive. He is a different type of player than Kanté. He is 6′ 1″ tall, 171 pounds, and provides an attacking presence. He has scored two goals, in all competitions, for Leicester, since arriving in the January transfer window. Both goals were from long range. And he is only 20 years old. There is a lot to come from this player.

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