The key stats that suggest Moyes made a mistake with Zaha

Zaha Palace New2

Wilfried Zaha changed the game for Cardiff City on Saturday, showing Manchester United what they were missing out on.

Much has been said about Wilfried Zaha's immediate impact after joining Cardiff City on loan.  

The Manchester United winger has had a first half of the season to forget, rarely featuring for David Moyes' side despite impressing during their pre-season tour - and despite arriving from Crystal Palace with both a hefty price-tag and a burgeoning reputation.

He had to wait until Saturday to remind the top flight what he could do, coming off the bench in the 38th minute and setting up the Bluebirds' equalising goal against Norwich City just four minutes after half-time.

Speaking to the BBC after the match, Cardiff manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised the England winger, saying, "Zaha came on and made the difference.

"He has pace, power and technique. We just have to teach him defending."

But as far as Saturday's game was concerned, it was all about what he did further up the field, changing the game and giving the relegation-threatened club some much-needed spark.

There was, however, another club who could have done with a catalyst arriving from the bench.  And that was his parent-club United, who suffered yet another defeat, this time at the hands of Stoke City.

Looking at Zaha's statistics from the match against Norwich, he laid on one assist for Craig Bellamy, played two key passes in total, had two crosses with a 50% accuracy rate and played five forward passes.

PlayerGoal AssistKey PassTotal Scoring AttTotal CrossAccurate CrossFwd Pass
Wilfried Zaha 1 2 0 2 1 5

 In contrast, below is how United's forward-minded substitutes fared against Mark Hughes' men.  

Javier Hernandez was only on the pitch for 20 minutes, but in that time his only contribution of note was one inaccurate cross.

Danny Welbeck fared better but still fell short of Zaha, the United forward having two scoring attempts and playing two forward passes.

PlayerGoal AssistKey PassTotal Scoring AttTotal CrossAccurate CrossFwd Pass
Javier Hernández 0 0 0 1 0 0
Danny Welbeck 0 0 2 0 0 2

So while there has already been considerable debate as to whether or not Moyes made a mistake not giving Zaha more chances, Saturday suggests he would have been no worse off giving the former Palace man the opportunity to change the game.

After all, he proved much better at it for Cardiff than his United teammates did against the Potters.



image: © Tom Brogan

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