Agence France-Presse

Former Crystal Palace frontman Clinton Morrison has tipped Wilfried Zaha to guide the Eagles up the table after his triumphant return to action against Chelsea on Saturday.

Palace were without a goal or a point heading into their home clash with the champions this weekend, but their fortunes turned when Zaha struck a 45th-minute winner after Tiemoue Bakayoko had cancelled out Cesar Azpilicueta’s early own goal.

It was the Ivory Coast international’s first appearance since the opening day of the season after he was sidelined with a knee injury, but now that he’s back in action, Morrison has predicted that the 24-year-old’s return will coincide with further improvement for Roy Hodgson’s side.

“Having Wilfried Zaha back made a massive difference to Crystal Palace,” Morrison told Sky Sports News. “Palace don’t have any recognised strikers so Roy Hodgson went with Andros Townsend and Zaha, and they don’t really know how to play that position up front because it’s totally different from playing on the wing.

“But Zaha has pace, natural skill and he was the difference — he was the match winner, and was a threat all afternoon.”

The Ivorian was a key factor last season as the Eagles overcame a sluggish start to the season under Alan Pardew before beating the drop after Sam Allardyce was appointed.

He netted seven goals and contributed nine assists last term, and with Christian Benteke recently ruled out for six weeks with a knee injury, the former Manchester United man will again be called upon to play a key role

“He is the talisman for Crystal Palace,” Morrison continued. “With no Christian Benteke there at the moment then you can play him anywhere across the front line and let him showcase his talent.

“He’s a terrific talent with loads of ability,” the ex-Republic of Ireland international added. “When you have a player like Zaha, who can win you a game alone, then you can start climbing the table.”

The Londoners will be desperate to build on this weekend’s unlikely success when they travel to Newcastle United this weekend, before a home game against West Ham United on October 28th.

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