Wilfried Zaha Tactical Analysis

As Chelsea enter the Maurizio Sarri era, many fans still wait for the new gaffer to bring in some more marquee signings.

Eden Hazard’s post-World Cup announcement of his undecided future sent ripples through the Chelsea camp. And with just a few weeks left in the transfer window, it might be time to start panicking.

Both Hazard and Willian have fell victim to the transfer merry-go-round already this summer. Hazard has relentlessly been linked with a move to Real Madrid, while Willian has been linked to both Manchester United and Barcelona.

If either star leaves the club, then a replacement needs to come in. Sharp.

Wilfried Zaha’s recent ambiguous social media activity suggests he could part ways with Crystal Palace before the window shuts.

Here’s why Chelsea simply must sign the Ivorian forward.

Last Season

The contrast between Palace’s success with Zaha and without is clear as day.

The side lost all 10 games they played in his absence. Meanwhile, in the games he did feature, they won 11, drew 11, and lost just six.

When the 25-year-old wasn’t blighted by injury, he picked up nine goals and three assists in the league.

Zaha also won three man-of-the-match awards in April, resulting in him being crowned player of the month.

Palace had struggled at the beginning of the season to separate themselves from the relegation scrap. But with Zaha back in the squad towards the tail end of last season, those worries were swept aside.

Zaha’s pace and trickery proved deadly when playing down the left as an inverted winger. But it was his finishing ability that served Palace the most, rewarding him with a run of games up front.

The Ivorian international has been on the radar of many clubs since his breakout season at Palace nearly five years ago.

One shaky spell at Manchester United later, he has shown maturity and a small snippet of what he is capable of.

Where He Would Fit In

Since Diego Costa’s falling out with ex-boss Antonio Conte, the Chelsea front three have failed to show the spark that won them the league two seasons ago.

Alvaro Morata is yet to prove his worth at number nine. And even yet another impressive season from Eden Hazard failed to secure a top-four finish for the Blues.

If Hazard does end up leaving the club – and Zaha comes in to replace him – it would be difficult to see Zaha as anything other than a like-for-like replacement.

He has the finishing to cut inside, the pace, the crossing, and even poses much more of a physical threat.

On the flip side, if it were Willian who departed instead of Hazard, then Zaha would also slot in perfectly on the right wing.

Chelsea’s three-at-the-back system allows the forwards to have a lot more freedom in their movement. Having wing-backs and three central defenders behind the forwards relieves them of some of their defensive duties.

Hazard and Zaha would be free to roam, interchanging positions. While Olivier Giroud would be given the sole task of getting into the box.

As mentioned previously, Zaha also has experience as a number nine. Before the signing of Giroud in January, Conte often played a free-flowing front three of Hazard, Pedro, and Willian.

If Sarri looks for more pace from his number nine, then Zaha is also an option in this regard.

Conclusion

Wilfried Zaha and what he brings to a game would be a great asset for any club to have.

He’s versatile, hard-working, and his best days are still in front of him. Chelsea’s London rivals Spurs have been hesitant in making any signings so far this transfer window, so it’s hard to see the rumours linking them to Zaha coming to fruition.

With Chelsea looking to add to their ranks, it would be silly to not go in for the Palace forward. Especially if more attackers are to leave the club.