A desperate lack of goals has been the subject of almost every conversation surrounding Crystal Palace Football Club in recent weeks.
As recently as November 28th, the Eagles were tonking five past Newcastle with the mercilessness of a side fully confident in their attacking abilities.
Fast forward two-and-a-half months, Alan Pardew’s men have scored just eight more Premier League goals.
It’s a spell that encompasses 12 top-tier fixtures, only two of which they’ve won, prompting their pre-Christmas spot amongst the division’s elite to dissolve into the lower reaches of mid-table.
The prospect of Palace being sucked into the relegation skirmish is a real one unless they can solve their goalscoring situation in a rush.
Fortunately for Pardew (assuming, of course, he’s a reader of our humble blog), the stats crunchers at newsbwin have a solution – get Wilfried Zaha to shoot more often.
The twice-capped England international has savoured something of a renaissance in 2015/16, winning back a place in the first-team as part of his reputation reparation mission following an ill-fated stint at Manchester United.
His upturn in form was the catalyst for his manager to tell the Daily Mail on January 31st that Zaha could offer the Three Lions ‘something different’ at Euro 2016.
In truth what he could offer, judging by his numbers this season, is plenty of getting into good positions and not a lot else.
The Ivory Coast-born winger has mustered a paltry one assist to complement his barely-better two goals, a dumbfounding statistic when it’s considered that only four midfielders have made more than his 113 touches in opposition penalty boxes this term.
Indeed, only 12 strikers across the campaign have been on the ball in adversaries’ 18-yard areas more than Zaha.
Given the positions he gets in, the 23-year-old’s return is especially dreadful. It takes him, on average, 979.5 minutes to score a goal. There are only three players, Emre Can, Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas to have had 50 or more touches in opponents’ boxes (there are 45 in total) with a worse record.
His 85.2 minutes-per-chance mean is by far the largest of those in the top 20 of the aforementioned category too.
With 199 attempted dribbles, Zaha is the Premier League’s most prolific carrier of the ball, while his success rate of 91% is commendable, but, evidently, his beating a man rarely results in anything productive for Palace.
This suggests the Eagles have more goalscoring potential in their squad than is being demonstrated and working on their prized winger’s end product is the key to reversing their fortunes.