Early candidates for Crystal Palace Player of the Season
(Photo by Pool/ Getty Images)

Defensive frailty, creative aptitude, and noteworthy solo performances are all strung together by high-scoring clashes that have conjured ebb and flow to Crystal Palace's 2020/21 season so far. 

The Eagles have profited from the usual players they rely on every season under Roy Hodgson's rule, but summer signings have also left their mark on this campaign.

While Christian Benteke found some form, Tyrick Mitchell lost and regained his starting spot, Patrick Van Aanholt received heavy scrutiny, Jairo Riedewald has been praised, and Vicente Guaita saved the Eagles on countless occasions - here are VAVEL UK's candidates for Player of the Season so far.

  • Wilfried Zaha

Heavily linked with a move to Serie A, there could never be an article surrounding Palace's best performers without a mention of Wilfried Zaha

In 15 Premier League appearances, the Ivorian has scored 8 and assisted 3, which is nearing his best total within one season in red and blue. 

Coming from a background, suffused with financial hardship, the Croydon raised fan favourite, has burnt the midnight oil to be mentioned in the same bracket as the Premier League's best.

His roaming striker role has given him the ability to express his creative freedom, leading to a lot of success this season, but no more than what his admirers expect of him.

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Zaha's best performance was probably at Old Trafford, where he captained his boyhood club competitively for the first time since his debut 10 years ago. The talisman performed his magnum opus in a 3-1 triumph over Manchester United.

Furthermore, Zaha was once again on top form when Palace handed West Bromwich Albion a gauntlet of fire at The Hawthorns. The Ivorian finds himself at the heart of every Eagles' attack; when Zaha doesn't play, there is a noticeable void in the Palace lineup. 

Through years of transfer speculation, one thing is certain, and it's that Wilfried Zaha has remained unfazed and focussed on the task at hand. If the superstar is to leave in 2021, his attitude to bring as much success as possible can never be underestimated. 

  • Eberechi Eze

When Eberechi Eze was plying his trade for Wycombe Wanderers of League Two, fans of The Chairboys instantly voiced the opinion that the Londoner would soon find himself in the top-flight of English football. 

Two years down the line, and Eze is holding the key to unlocking defences in the Premier League for Crystal Palace.

In recent seasons it appeared that Zaha was a one-man attack for Palace and with that, came murmurs of resentment towards Hodgson and the recruitment staff from the Palace faithful. 

However, Hodgson recruited well during the summer of 2020, and Eze's performances so far have been a testament to that. Exciting on the ball with his pace and skill, while making positive surges forward will stand the midfielder in good stead as he continues to grow as a player. 

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Eberechi Eze has lacked consistency throughout the season, but his magical solo performances levitate him to being regarded as one of Palace's best performers so far. Hodgson may prefer Jeffrey Schlupp for his defensive capabilities, but Eze has delivered on countless occasions.

Notwithstanding 'that' free-kick goal against Leeds United, or his other-world brilliance, that goes down as an early shout for Goal of the Season, at home to Sheffield United? Eze has proven that he has the ability to be a mainstay in the Eagles' lineup going forward. 

The marauding midfielder has shone in a team that has failed to sparkle in attack in recent times, and he might just be the future nucleus of this Eagles squad. 

  • Nathaniel Clyne

Nathaniel Clyne has been the diamond in the rough for Hodgson in defence this season. The returning right-back has remained a resolute option on the right flank throughout, and has been perhaps the most consistent player of the season. 

The 29-year-old endured endless minutes on the sideline in the latter stages of his Liverpool career, before heading back home to his boyhood club, Crystal Palace. By watching him this season, however, you would have never thought he had left.

The experienced right-sided defender has flourished under his former England boss; his confidence on the ball has been second to none, and his effortless ball-playing ability has helped Palace's transition from defence to offence.

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While Palace's defence has been uncharacteristically lacklustre, Clyne has kept his place in the starting eleven, the only defender to do so. Hodgson recently expressed his confidence that the ageing right-back will sign a new contract this month, boosting the camp's morale.

The summer acquisition was a worry to many Eagles' fans, as his tendency to get injured had increased in recent times, and his age and contract length signalled he was only here for the short-term. 

This, however, turned out to be false, as the defender has highlighted that he still has enough left in the tank to keep his career going. Similar to many other forgotten Liverpool men, Clyne has had his career rejuvenated.