Wilfried Zaha did well to earn his side a point against West Ham on Saturday, it became very clear that he’s currently carrying Crystal Palace towards safety by himself.
It got us thinking – which Premier League clubs have been effectively one-man teams for an extended period of time?
Some of these players have defined their clubs so much they’re thought of nearly as much as the club themselves, while others took over proceedings for a few months and became the sole bright spot for fans.
So, Mr. Zaha, here is your elusive and generally much more talented company.
Matt Le Tissier (Southampton)
Now, ‘Le Tiss’ doesn’t really hide his affinity with the football club whatsoever. That’s lovely in its own way.
Every single Saturday on Jeff Stelling, he celebrates when Southampton score, despite probably never doing their game.
But when you score 161 times for a club who really hasn’t achieved anything, it’s quite a common practice for fans to idolise someone to that level, but Le Tiss’ prominence on media channels and his insistence in remaining partial to The Saints has led to him forever being associated with them.
And for good reason – he was probably the only half-decent thing to happen the club for the bones of 16 years.
Alan Shearer (Blackburn/Newcastle)
Congratulations to Alan Shearer – the one man to make it onto this list for two different clubs. And for all his exploits with Newcastle that get brought up time and time again, his goalscoring record for Blackburn was even more impressive.
Very few players can claim they dragged a club to a league title (so close Luis Suarez, so close), but Shearer gets that nod thanks to an influx of Jack Walker money.
Newcastle truly wasted a golden opportunity to win league titles ahead of below-average Manchester United teams while he was at the club, but even a poor managerial stint at St. James’ Park didn’t ruin his legacy.
Carlos Tevez (West Ham)
If you just look at his box score, Tevez netted just seven times in 26 games for the Hammers.
But it’s worth remembering two things: it’s very hard to score goals in a team low on confidence and he was central to every single good thing West Ham did that year, before completing the most unlikely of final day escapes.
It was never in doubt that the Argentine would go onto much bigger things – but for his brief cameo in the Premier League with West Ham, he was one of the best players in the league playing for one of the worst teams – which rarely happens anymore.
Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)
Liverpool were sprinkled with talent throughout Gerrard’s time there – most notably Michael Owen and Luis Suarez. They even partnered him with Xabi Alonso for an all-too-brief tandem.
But the residing feeling that lingers around Anfield is similar to that in Newcastle with Shearer – there wasn’t enough done to build around Gerrard.
He showed on countless occasions that he was good enough to bring them to domestic glory but never had the support.
I suppose you could say that Liverpool really slipped up with that one.
Christophe Dugarry (Birmingham City)
Is this the most random transfer in the history of the Premier League? Birmingham City, promoted under Steve Bruce, had a largely workmanlike squad, made up of good characters without a whole lot of anything else.
It made them likeable and their victories over an internationally-fuelled Aston Villa even sweeter, but Dugarry arrived in the January transfer window from the sunny exploits of Bordeaux. I’m not saying Digbeth isn’t lovely in the winter, just that you’d probably need a curry or two to warm up.
Dugarry scored five times and stood out more among his team mates than any other player in the division at the time.
Brum have had their share of technically-talented players over the years – Jon Toral and even the current bluenose Jota – but this one was literally out of the blue.