Vieira off to perfect start as Crystal Palace manager

Patrick Vieira gets off to the perfect start as Crystal Palace manager with wantaway star man Wilfried Zaha scoring the winner against League Two Walsall in pre-season friendly

  • Patrick Vieira’s first match in charge of Crystal Palace saw them beat Walsall 1-0
  • Wantaway Palace star Wilfried Zaha scored the game’s only goal in the first half
  • Vieira made 11 changes at half-time to give several academy players game time

New Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira ensured his tenure got off to the perfect start with a routine 1-0 win over League Two Walsall in the Eagles’ first pre-season friendly. 

Having finished 14th in the Premier League last year and said goodbye to Roy Hodgson, Vieira’s remit is to bring some panache back to Palace and help them climb the table.

While Walsall were never going to be tough opponents, Vieira made a statement by naming a strong starting line-up, featuring Wilfried Zaha, Jordan Ayew, James MacArthur, Nathaniel Clyne and Jeffrey Schlupp.

Patrick Vieira got off to the perfect start as the new Crystal Palace manager by beating Walsall

Wantaway Eagles star Wilfried Zaha (centre) scored the only goal in the pre-season friendly

Despite being a friendly, Vieira named a strong starting line-up, which included Jordan Ayew

Vieira named Vicente Guaita in goal, with Jack Butland coming on in the second half. 

Palace unsurprisingly dominated proceedings from the first whistle, Zaha a constant menace. Vieira will be doing his utmost to keep the wantaway star at Selhurst Park next season. 

Zaha demonstrated his value by linking neatly with academy prospect Rob Street before slotting the ball home just before half-time.

It was the only goal of the game, as the tone of the match shifted after Vieira made 11 substitutions at the break with a view to giving several academy players a chance to impress. 

Vieira’s side were playing their first football match in 56 days and easily dominated the game

Palace academy player Rob Street (centre) caught the eye after linking with Zaha for the goal

Palace continued to control the game despite the changes, with chances for Scott Banks, Jesurun Rak-Sakyi and John-Kymani Gordon.

However, there was no sign of Michael Olise, Vieira’s first signing as Palace manager, who joined the Eagles for £8million from Reading.

Fans may be disappointed by this as Olise is regarded as a highly exciting prospect, having been named EFL Young Player of the Season last campaign. 

Walsall provided a late scare when striker Kieran Phillips hit the crossbar late in the second half, but it was otherwise a comfortable victory to start Vieira’s reign at Selhurst Park.    

Palace’s Nya Kirby evades a tackle – he was one of 11 substitutions that Vieira made at half-time

Walsall made few chances, with midfielder Rory Holden tacked by Palace’s Jairo Riedewald

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