Vieira Explains Why Zaha Skipped Arsenal Game

Jake Cooper - 21 Oct 2021

With so many fans surprised by Wilfried Zaha’s notable absence from Crystal Palace’s Premier League showdown against Arsenal, club manager Patrick Vieira felt pressed to explain why the 28-year-old didn’t play.

Fans were understandably concerned, especially after the type of performance Zaha had put on in the seven league matches played for the club in the 2021-22 campaign.

According to Vieira, Zaha hasn’t been feeling well ever since his return from international responsibilities with Cote d’lvoire. This said Vieira was the main and only reason Zaha got excluded from the stand-off at the Emirates Stadium.

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Zaha Not “Well Enough” To Play

Also problematic was the lack of training together with the rest of the ream, said Vieira during the recent pre-match interview. This reportedly contributed to the decision to leave Zaha at home.

Vieira said while the star was indeed feeling better after illness, he had not been well enough to perform as well as some other players who had been waiting in line to play. The showpiece event was all about the team trying to perform as well as they possibly could, he explained, which necessarily meant playing those players able to perform at optimal levels.

Something Zaha will clearly have to work on is his defence while working together with the rest of the players. Vieira touched briefly on this, as well as on an overall need to be more compact as a team during showpiece events.

Even so, the Crystal Palace manager said he remained confident in his team’s abilities to score goals – and, in fact, many goals during the new campaign. Especially the squad’s forwards and midfielders can be relied on to create big chances for scoring, said Vieira.

Players Showed “Character”

But scoring goals means playing well in the first place, emphasised Vieira. And that’s exactly what he said the team showed they were capable of doing on Monday.

Crystal Palace only just missed out on a convincing 3-2 win after starring as the better side for more than two thirds of Monday’s game. They were however denied that final tiebreaker at the very last.

Even so, Palace appeared in supreme control of the game, meaning still a win for Vieira & Co., who will undoubtedly regard Monday’s game a sign of bigger future things to come.

Vieira said so in as many words when he commented that on merit alone, Palace had emerged as the better team on the day. He said he felt disappointed on behalf of his players because of the character and personality showed all throughout the match.  

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