Why this could be the weekend Wilfried Zaha proves he's 'back'

Alex Keble looks ahead to the key clash in Saturday's meeting between the Potters and the Eagles...

Wilfried Zaha vs Mame Diouf

With both sides meandering aimlessly in the lower reaches of the Premier League, Crystal Palace vs Stoke may initially appear to be a glamourless tie.

However, aside from providing an intriguing test of character for a new-look, Bojan-inspired Potters side, this game offers an interesting challenge for young winger Wilfried Zaha.

Despite largely playing in the shadow of Jason Puncheon – last season's star player – Zaha is slowly regaining the form that led to his £15 million move to Manchester United.

After a tough challenge – and disappointing performance – against Villa in midweek, the Ivory Coast-born youngster was lively in the 0-0 draw at White Hart Lane.

Mark Hughes, a relatively cautious manager, will be aware that his left midfielder will have to provide constant support to Erik Pieters if Zaha is to be contained. After victory against Arsenal and in light of Stoke's injury crisis in this position, Hughes is likely to field Mame Biram Diouf on the left.

Saturday's match will be a serious test of discipline for him. If Zaha is frequently afforded a one-on-one with Pieters, he could punish Stoke. It is well worth keeping an eye on this battle; against such physical opposition, this will be an excellent opportunity to assess Zaha's progress.

With Eriksen rarely tracking back, Zaha shone, regularly dribbling through the opposition midfield. If Diouf makes the same mistakes, it could cost his team dearly.

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