Why Wilfried Zaha Can Be a Force in the Premier League for Manchester United

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterMay 13, 2013

Wilfried Zaha remains something of an unknown quantity to many Manchester United fans, but his game-winning performance against Brighton in the Championship playoff semifinal definitely answered a few questions.

The Crystal Palace forward agreed to join the Red Devils back in January in a deal worth £15 million (via The Mirror), but spent the second half of the season on loan at Selhurst Park to continue developing.

The 20-year-old now has his sights set firmly on promotion for the Eagles, believing it to be a potential parting gift from him before moving to Old Trafford (via The Daily Mail):

[Getting Palace promoted] is all I want to do.

I've been here for so many years but bringing Palace up to the Premier League would be the best thing ever.

He's just 90 minutes from that potential realisation, but United fans will already be looking at the two-goal hero and working out how he'll perform for them come July 1.

Luckily, all signs point toward Zaha being a massive success in the Premier League.

Simply put, he has the body of an Olympian. Combining that size, frame, speed and strength is no common thing and Wilfried appears a rare physical specimen.

He's learnt to use his frame to his advantage, growing into games and sizing up his opponents, working out which attribute he can use to bully them.

Aside from his obvious trickery and raw speed, his positional game and awareness are miles ahead of that of most his age.

For his opening goal against Brighton, he attacked the far post and anticipated Yannick Bolasie's cross beautifully. Wayne Bridge's defending was shocking, but Zaha was in the right place to nod home.

His second was truly wonderful, outmuscling a central defender, turning on a sixpence and smashing home in the closing stages.

Perhaps his most impressive attribute is his perseverance. It's fair to say he wasn't having a great night before his goal, but he doesn't get bogged down by it.

When he's on fire, he's ridiculous, turning defenders inside out with a broad smile on his face. When it's not happening, he tries and tries, runs and runs and goes again.

That work ethic, that commitment, is perhaps the biggest reason to suggest this natural physicality and talent will not go to waste.

Before the game, the big question was: How will Sir Alex Ferguson's last signing turn out and what sort of legacy will it leave?

That question, as far as we're concerned, was answered emphatically at Falmer Stadium.


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