Palace beat Chelsea!
In an exciting London derby at Stamford Bridge, Crystal Palace beat Chelsea 2-1 and became only the second team this season to deny the Premier League leaders all three points at home. Everything seemed to be going to plan when Cesc Fabregas gave the Blues a 5th-minute lead, but Palace hit back immediately. In the 9th minute, Wilfied Zaha scored a great solo goal. He ran with the ball and scored from just outside the penalty area. If the equaliser surprised Chelsea, they must have been stunned when Palace took the lead just 90 seconds later. This time Zaha was the provider as his pass set up Christian Benteke to score. There was lots of time for Chelsea to recover, but despite 24 shots, they could not score. Zaha could have scored again late in the match but hit a shot over the crossbar. It was an important three points for Palace in their battle against relegation. Chelsea are still seven points clear at the top of the table, but this defeat gives chasing teams, such as Tottenham, some hope for the rest of the season.
This is what the Premier League is about. There can be a shock anywhere. It will make people sit up and say wow!
Sam Allardyce, Crystal Palace manager.
What do we know about Wilfried Zaha?
Wilfried Zaha was born on 10 November 1992 in Abidjan, the largest city and economic capital of Ivory Coast, which is on the west coast of Africa. However, when he was just four years old, Zaha moved, with his eight brothers and sisters, to the UK to live in London. Zaha was brought up by his mum and dad in a three bedroom house in Thornton Heath, which is an area of South London close to Selhurst Park, Crystal Palace's football ground. He learnt about football by playing with his five brothers in local parks and playing for a Sunday League team. He joined Crystal Palace's youth team when he was 12 years old and made his first team debut when he was only 17.
Unless I'm looking at Ronaldo or Messi, I don't think anyone is better than me.
Wilfried Zaha speaking in 2012.
Where is home for Zaha?
Zaha broke into the Palace first team when the Eagles were in the Championship (the second level of English football) and played over 100 times for the club before he was 20 years old. Many Premier League teams were looking at the winger and in January 2013, Manchester Utd bought Zaha for a reported £10 million. As part of the agreement, Zaha was loaned back to Palace for the rest of the 2012/13 season. In May 2013, Zaha helped Palace to victory in the play-off final which meant the team were promoted to the Premier League. Zaha's time at Manchester Utd wasn't successful and he made only two Premier League appearances before he was loaned out to Cardiff City, where he made a further 12 Premier League appearances. At the beginning of the 2014/15 season, Zaha returned to Crystal Palace, first on loan, but later, the transfer was made permanent. In 2015/16, Zaha was named Palace's Player of the Season and helped the club to the FA Cup Final, where they lost 2-1 to Zaha's former team - Manchester Utd.
I'm here now. I love the fans, they are part of the team, they have given me nothing but support even when I left. I'm playing well and have my confidence back.
Wilfried Zaha, speaking about his return to Palace.
Which players have represented different countries?
Wilfried Zaha was born in Ivory Coast but moved to the UK when he was four years old so was eligible to play for England or Ivory Coast. As a young player, Zaha played for England's under-19 and under-21 teams. In November 2012, Zaha made his debut for the senior England team against Sweden. He came on as a substitute for Raheem Sterling, who, incidentally, was born In Jamaica. However, it was a friendly match and FIFA's rules say that a player is only tied to a specific nation when he has played an international match in an official competition. In 2016, Zaha decided to represent Ivory Coast, the country of his birth, and made his competitive debut in the Africa Cup of Nations in January 2017. As you can see from the list below, this is nothing new. Some of the biggest names from football history have played for two countries and one (Monti) has even played in World Cup Finals for two different countries!
|Diego Costa||Brazil and Spain|
|Nacer Chadli||Morocco and Belgium|
|Ferenc Puskas||Hungary and Spain|
|Alfredo Di Stefano||Argentina, Colombia and Spain|
|Luisito Monti||Argentina and Italy|
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What do you think?
Were you surprised that Palace beat Chelsea? Are there more surprising results in the Premier League than other leagues?
Do you think Wilfried Zaha was right to return to Palace? Do you know any other players thta have returned to their former clubs?
Should players be allowed to change nationality? Does it make a difference for fans?