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Michael Owen claims Crystal Palace duo are two of the best in the league – is he right?

Whilst commentating on the lunchtime kickoff between Crystal Palace and Queens Park Rangers, BT Sport commentator and pundit, Michael Owen made a bold statement regarding two of the Palace players.

During commentary, Owen stated that, in his opinion, Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha are “two of the better wingers in the Premier League”.

Regarding this comment, we take a look at stats and see whether the former England strikers is right.

Bolasie and Zaha have been important for Crystal Palace in recent weeks as they fight off relegation. Both were instrumental in the 3-1 win at home to QPR on Saturday, and are huge part of Alan Pardew’s plans going forward.

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But despite their solid form, there may be more effective wingers in the Premier League. Especially when you consider Palace are in the bottom half of the table.

The comment was made at a time when Palace were 3-0 up during the game and were dominating a defensively weak QPR side who are in the relegation zone. So are his comments justified?

From the statistics table we have created below (using the Squawka comparison matrix) you can see for yourself how the Palace duo compare to selected other star wide men.

Statistic Yannick Bolasie Wilfried Zaha Alexis Sanchez Eden Hazard Nacer Chadli Christian Eriksen Raheem Sterling Stewart Downing
Matches Played

25

22

25

27

25

28

26

27

Minutes Played

2005

1263

2089

2386

1637

2297

2239

2412

Goals 

2

1

13

10

8

9

6

5

Assists

6

2

7

6

5

2

7

8

Successful take ons (per game)

2.40

2.14

3.79

4.6

1.32

1.37

3.22

0.75

Chances Created (per game)

1.44

0.41

2.71

2.79

1.81

2.63

2.33

2.65

Key Passes (per game)

1.20

0.32

2.41

2.56

1.54

2.55

2.05

2.35

The table above can be misleading however. As a ‘winger’, Zaha and Bolasie do hold their width and rarely drift infield. Whereas, others like Christian Eriksen and Raheem Sterling do drift infield.

The main statistic that aids Owen’s argument is the successful take ons completed by the Palace duo. Both Zaha (2.14 successful take ons per game) and Bolasie (2.40 successful take ons per game) match up quite well with the elite wingers of the league.

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However, using the statistics, we can safely say that are better wingers in the Premier League than Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha in terms of productivity.

What do you make of Michael Owen’s comments? Who do you think is the best winger in the Premier League?

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About Jamie Ives (317 Articles)

MLS expert and writer for mlsgb.com. All views are my own

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