Talking Point: Could Zaha replace Sanchez at Arsenal?

With Alexis Sanchez set to leave Arsenal, could Wilfried Zaha of next opponent Crystal Palace prove a sufficient replacement?

Former Manchester United winger Zaha is being linked with a return to one of the division's elite clubs.   -  AFP

Wilfried Zaha has been a pivotal figure in Crystal Palace's resurgence.

After enduring the worst start to a season in English football history, the Eagles have soared up to 12th following the appointment of Roy Hodgson.

Amid an excellent run that has seen Palace lose just three of its last 16 Premier League matches, former Manchester United winger Zaha is being linked with a return to one of the division's elite clubs.

READ: Mourinho 'not unconfident' of Sanchez signing

Among the candidates credited with an interest is Arsenal, which entertains Hodgson's side in a London derby at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

With Alexis Sanchez seemingly set to leave the Gunners in the January transfer window, do the statistics suggest Zaha would prove a capable replacement for the Chilean forward?

CLINICAL FINISHING

In terms of shot conversion, this season there has been little to choose between the pair.

Ivory Coast international Zaha has hit the back of the net with four of his 40 shots – including blocked efforts – for a conversion rate of 10 per cent.

That figure is only fractionally inferior to Sanchez's; seven goals from 69 attempts at goal produce a ratio of 10.14 for the Gunners forward.

The 29-year-old has enjoyed a better season than Zaha in terms of minutes per goal involvement (150.7 to 303.4), chances created (51 to 31) and dribble success rate (62.4 per cent to 49.3).

Zaha has been fouled five more times, though…

SANCHEZ THE CREATOR

Zaha would undoubtedly offer Arsenal greater width and a more direct option on the wing.

But while the Palace man has attempted far more dribbles than Sanchez (994 to 627), it is the Chilean that has proved superior with the ball at his feet during their respective Premier League careers. Sanchez's successful dribble rate of 58.1 per cent comfortably outstrips his counterpart's 46.4.

READ: Conte 'doesn't think' Chelsea has pursued Sanchez

Furthermore, the 272 chances he has created are more than double those engineered by Zaha (131), who only averages a goal involvement one every 310.5 minutes.

The chasm between the duo can be fully appreciated when considering Sanchez has only played 498 more top-flight minutes, equivalent to five and a half games.

ANOTHER OPTION?

It has been suggested Henrikh Mkhitaryan could be offered as part of a deal taking Sanchez to Manchester United this month.

READ: Mkhitaryan key to United-Sanchez deal, claims Raiola

A number of statistics fall in favour of the Armenian when compared to Zaha. His minutes per league goal involvement (207.27) and shot conversion rate (10.42) in England suggest he could be of more use in the Gunners' attacking line-up, though his dribble success rate of 45.74 is slightly lower than the Palace man's.

Despite coming in and out favour with manager Jose Mourinho this term, Mkhitaryan has been involved in six goals in just 931 minutes, making an impact every 155.17 minutes, which is similar to Sanchez's.

However, the former Borussia Dortmund playmaker is not having a great season in front of goal, converting just 6.67 per cent of his shots.

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