Powered by
Univision Deportes
JUL 5 12PM ET
arg1
bel0
JUL 5 4PM ET
ned4
crc3
JUL 8 4PM ET
bra1
ger7
JUL 9 4PM ET
arg4
ned2
JUL 12 4PM ET
bra0
ned3
JUL 13 3PM ET
arg0
ger1

Can Wilfried Zaha Be An Instant Hit at Manchester United?

wilfried zaha1 Can Wilfried Zaha Be An Instant Hit at Manchester United?

As Manchester United supporters were paying homage to the team’s twentieth domestic title, at the other end of the country, a glimpse of their future was on show. Wilfried Zaha, Sir Alex Ferguson’s last ever signing for the club, struck a brace to send Crystal Palace into the playoff final.

Zaha was signed by the Red Devils in the January window for circa £15m before being loaned back to Palace to continue their promotion bid. Next season, he will join up with David Moyes and the rest of the United squad, as the club look set to embark on a new era.

There have been questions about the role that Zaha might play at Manchester United in the immediacy. His star seemed to have faded somewhat as Palace have gone through a downturn in form since the turn of the year. But on the evidence of his virtuoso display in the backyard of his team’s fiercest rivals, Zaha is capable of playing a prominent role for the Champions in his debut season.

For watching United supporters, there was much to admire about Zaha.

Physically, he looks tailor made for the Premier League. He has pace to burn, a rangy somatotype and a strong running style.

Technically too, he looks to have the box set. From the left flank against Brighton, he demonstrated an ability to attack his full-back on the inside and the outside, clearly at ease cutting in and hitting it with his right-foot or getting to the byline and fizzing in crosses with his left.

But we have seen players flourish at this level before that have failed to make that illusive step up before. What makes Zaha any different?

Perhaps, and I suspect this is what attracted Manchester United to him, Zaha has got a good head on his shoulders. Mentally, for such a young man, he seems to be a very strong character.

In the game against Brighton, Zaha picked up a couple of soft free-kicks early on, turning an already hostile crowd against him.

But, with an attitude comparable to a certain Cristiano Ronaldo, the stick seemed to spur him on. Many young players would have recoiled into their shell before such a volatile backdrop. The fact that Zaha thrived on it, was especially impressive.

Despite not having the best first hour, he was constantly looking for the ball and fearless in his running at the Brighton back four. Losing possession didn’t defer him. He merely dusted himself down and had another go. He was relentless in his attempts to get at the opposition.

In the end, this paid off. For when the game was showing little signs of life and when his team needed it most, he stepped up to the mark.

His first goal again showed that Zaha has got something of substance between his ears. Excellent movement and anticipation at the back post enabled him to steal a march on Brighton left-back Wayne Bridge before sending the traveling Palace fans into delirium with a bullet header.

It was from this point on that we saw exactly why United have outlaid so much on a relatively unproven youngster. Zaha proceeded to terrorize the Brighton defenders. Drifting across the front line, his movement and pace gave Palace a wonderful outlet as Brighton attempted to put the Eagles under sustained pressure.

But Palace held strong and it was left to Zaha to put the tie to bed. And how. His second goal showed a little bit of everything.

He positioned himself in-front of the Brighton centre-half looking to get the ball into feet. He shrugged his man off, before a wonderful first touch enabled him to hit the ball left-footed on the turn. It crashed off the bar and into the net in spectacular fashion; Palace were Wembley bound.

So, does he look as though he can be a key player for the Champions next season? Absolutely.

United have been a devastating attacking force this season, but if we were to isolate ways they could potentially get even better, then it would be in wide areas. Antonio Valencia has failed to build on an excellent 2011-12 season, whereas Ashley Young and Nani have both been in and out of the side due to lack of fitness, injuries and loss of form.

So the chance is there for Zaha to come in and make an instant impact. After potentially leading his team to promotion this season, confidence will be high for the youngster. Expect him to come in and make a real impression.

For onlooking United supporters, this would have been the cherry on top of another memorable weekend. All the talk surrounding the club as of late has been of the glorious past their manager has woven in his 26 years at United.

Watching Zaha last night, it doesn’t appear the future looks in bad hands either.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments section or on Twitter:  @MattJFootball

About Matt Jones

Matt Jones is an Everton supporter living in Merseyside, England. He has a enormous passion for the Toffees and travels far and wide to watch them in action. Not to mention an significant interest in all aspects of European football. Completely at ease with the fact he is a football nerd, Matt has a huge interest in tactical and statistical side of the game. Matt’s writing has featured on Soccerlens, Bleacher Report and in the Liverpool Echo. Follow him on Twitter for more football chatter @MattJFootball View all posts by Matt Jones →
This entry was posted in Crystal Palace, Leagues: EPL, Manchester United. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Can Wilfried Zaha Be An Instant Hit at Manchester United?

  1. Bishopville Red says:

    I have a hunch that Zaha will do just fine, but the changes at United mean the odds are stacked against it being instant.

    Moyes will be getting his head around a lot of new things and players, and the potential for a new “fringe” player breaking into the starting XI, let alone a relied upon member of the squad will take a little time.

    On top of that, there’s no pressure for the kid to make an instant impact. Regardless of the changes at United, it isn’t the United way to push a kid before his time.

    SB

    • Ballooger says:

      Another way of looking at it is that all of Man Utds players are effectively “new” to Moyes, so Zaha is on a level playing field with all of them, as they all seek to press a claim to be in Moyes’ plans.

      p.s. I learned something as a result of this article -the word “somatotype”. No idea how to pronounce it though!

  2. Mark says:

    This kid will just fine just like Bale at United he’ll eas in to the side,and when he gets he’s chance sparks will fly a English Bale will be born just give him the gap he’ll take it for sure…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>