The Ivorian winger is currently having his most productive season in front of goal, with 13 goals in all competitions for Vieira’s side. His most recent strike came in stoppage time against Southampton at St Mary’s Stadium, where he fired past Fraser Forster from the edge of the box to secure all three points on the south coast.
The goal was Palace’s first since beating Arsenal 3-0 at Selhurst Park in early April, and it rekindled the Eagles’ hopes of finishing Vieira’s first season in charge in the top half of the Premier League. To do so, they’ll need Zaha to be on fire for the final four games of the season.
Even though he is currently reaching new heights in a Palace shirt – only Mohamed Salah, Son Heung-Min, Cristiano Ronaldo, Diogo Jota, Sadio Mane, and Harry Kane have more league goals than him this season – Vieira believes he should be contributing even more given the opportunities his Palace team is creating.
When asked about Zaha’s record goal tally, Vieira joked in his post-match press conference at St Mary’s, “He should be higher than that.” “We bring in some players to surround [him], which improves Wilfried’s ability to score goals as well.”
“When you create opportunities [as a team], he will have opportunities to score those goals.” He’s always been a goal scorer. He will undoubtedly score goals if we continue to play the way we have. To be honest, I believe he has the ability and quality to score around 20 goals.”
Patrick Vieira has previously predicted that Zaha will one day be inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame, which the Frenchman was inducted into just last month. Zaha has spent the majority of his playing career in English football’s top flight, and he is one of the league’s most recognizable figures.
However, playing for a club other than the traditional top six may hurt his chances, with Vieira telling reporters that players like Zaha and Southampton’s club legend Matt Le Tissier deserve recognition for what they accomplished in mid-table sides. Le Tissier spent almost his entire career with the Saints, scoring a remarkable 209 goals in 540 games. In 1993/94, he scored 25 goals in the league, trailing only Alan Shearer of Blackburn Rovers and Andy Cole of Newcastle.
“Wilfried reminds me of Matt Le Tissier,” Vieira said. “If you play at Palace or Southampton, you might not get the credit you deserve if you’re not in one of the top four or top five teams.”
“Matt Le Tissier, like Wilfried, should be inducted into the Hall of Fame.” You can’t take away what they did for Crystal Palace and Southampton. Wilfried has been an important player for this football club since his arrival, delivering year after year, and his talent must be recognized.
“There’s a different way of looking at quality players, talented players, and Wilfried Zaha and Matt Le Tissier deserve a lot of credit for what they accomplished for their respective football clubs, which is why I’m saying Wilfried – he’s got a special talent and he’s shown it year after year.”Dr