Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has admitted that his squad are carrying several knocks ahead of the London derby with West Ham at Selhurst Park on Tuesday night.
The Palace boss faces late calls on the fitness of Wilfried Zaha and Cheikhou Kouyate ahead of the game with David Moyes’ side. Zaha missed the match with Manchester City while Kouyate, who has made 18 top-flight appearances in the Premier League this season, was also absent from the matchday squad after he picked up a knock against Arsenal.
Hodgson said in his post-match press conference on Sunday evening: “Wilf, unfortunately, picked up a knock in the game against Arsenal.
“The turnaround has been quite quick, and we haven’t been able to turn him around in time.
“Every time Wilf doesn’t play it’s a miss, that’s been well documented. We’d have loved to have him here – and we’d have loved to have had Cheikhou [Kouyate] here – but these things happen in a game of football and we’re fortunate that with a couple of days between the games we haven’t picked up more injuries than the one Wilf picked up.”
The manager will be without Jeffrey Schlupp for the game on Tuesday as he continues his rehabilitation after suffering a hamstring injury against Sheffield United and is expected to be out until at least March.
Hodgson is expected to ring the changes for his side’s crunch Premier League clash with West Ham on Tuesday night. The Eagles changed their back four for the game against Manchester City which backfired almost immediately after John Stones scored two goals either side of the break.
Palace managed to start without Patrick van Aanholt, Nathaniel Clyne or Scott Dann last Sunday, but all three should be back this evening. This means that Gary Cahill, Tyrick Mitchell and Joel Ward will have to drop to the bench, the latter having endured a night to forget at the Etihad.
Eberechi Eze, James McArthur, Luka Milivojevic and Andros Townsend started on Sunday, and we’re backing the quartet to start again today.
We have resisted the temptation to bring back Zaha as we feel this game may come too soon for the Ivory Coast international, meaning Christian Benteke will start for the first time since the draw with Arsenal at the Emirates.
Benteke was rested against Pep Guardiola’s side after he was left as an unused substitute on the bench, but we reckon he will be back today, joining Jordan Ayew up front.
Hodgson will be hoping that Benteke can rediscover the form that saw him score three goals in three games last year, including a goal against West Ham at the London Stadium last time around.
AND in other news, Crystal Palace still want to sign Ismaila Sarr despite Watford demands…