Patrick Vieira shot himself in the foot at Crystal Palace by often refusing to start Eberechi Eze – or play him in the correct position.
The 24-year-old did not appear to be a favourite under the Frenchman whatsoever, which is weird given the fact he is obviously an immense talent.
What’s the story?
Well, Vieira mentioned Eze when asked by the Mirror which Crystal Palace players he thinks could start for Arsenal right now.
The 46-year-old said: “At Palace I had the chance to work with some really young, talented players, and the two that come to mind are Michael Olise and Eze. They are young and they still have a lot to improve in their game, but they have the potential to play in the top teams in Europe.”
It seems very odd – in our view at least – that Vieira would describe Eze as someone capable of starting for a Champions League side, but not good enough to start under him at Crystal Palace.
The Crystal Palace No.10 made 16 of his 46 appearances under Vieira as a substitute – with the likes of Jeffrey Schlupp bizarrely preferred – and struggled to impose himself on matches as he was often shoved too far out wide.
Eze was also subbed off 22 times.
It also speaks volumes that Eze scored seven goals in ten Premier League games once Roy Hodgson took over from Vieira in March – clearly, there was a major issue when it came to working with the Frenchman.
Eze under Vieira and Hodgson compared at Crystal Palace
Interestingly, Eze has made exactly 46 appearances under Vieira as well as Hodgson, which makes it easy to see the differences in his output working alongside each coach.
Under Vieira, the London-born playmaker scored just five goals and provided four assists in 46 appearances.
However – when working with Hodgson – Eze has netted ten goals and set up a further seven in the same amount of games.
Clearly, Vieira was unsure of how to get the best out of our £16m man, and that ultimately played a huge part in him losing his job at Selhurst Park.