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Crystal Palace: Jean-Philippe Mateta must be restored vs Leeds

Crystal Palace host Leeds United this evening as they look to climb the Premier League table with just six matches to go whilst can all but secure their safety with a victory.

The Eagles followed up their Wembley heartbreak in the FA Cup semi-final with a 1-0 defeat at Newcastle United last Wednesday night, with manager Patrick Vieira making changes to his team.

Now though, after a five-day break, the Frenchman must resort back to his best possible lineup, with striker Jean-Philippe Mateta leading the line.

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Mateta was rested in the North East on Wednesday, with out-of-favour Odsonne Edouard getting the nod to start up front against the Magpies.

The Frenchman struggled to make an impact at St.James’ Park and hasn’t found the back of the net for Palace since late January.

As for his fellow countryman, Mateta has been the Eagles’ best striker since the turn of the year, scoring five goals and assisting one in 2022.

The 24-year-old’s form has ironically correlated with his loan move from Bundesliga outfit FC Mainz being made permanent in the January transfer window.

Will Crystal Palace beat Leeds tonight?

Yes

Yes

No

No

Vieira has chopped and changed his strikers this season, with no centre forward finding consistent form in front of goal that rivals that of top scorer Wilfried Zaha, as well as the impressive Chelsea loanee Conor Gallagher.

The long-term Palace servant has enjoyed his best-ever season in front of goal for the Eagles this term, scoring 12 times across all competitions whilst Gallagher is the south London outfit’s second-top-scorer with eight strikes.

With Zaha in support, Mateta can find his best form, with the forward finally starting to find comfort in the red and blue of Crystal Palace after a shaky start to life in England.

The £30k-per-week striker was signed on a season-and-a-half loan from Mainz in January 2021, with former Palace boss Roy Hodgson handing the Frenchman just seven league appearances.

Although, the 24-year-old did instantly boost his popularity amongst the Selhurst Park faithful, netting the first goal in a dramatic 2-1 win against arch-rivals Brighton.

This season, the forward was shut out almost completely, playing just 61 minutes of the Eagles’ first 17 league matches and sometimes failed to even make a matchday squad.

However, once handed his chance at the back end of December, Mateta, who was labelled as “brilliant” by teammate Will Hughes earlier this term, grabbed it with both hands and is now the south London side’s most in form striker and thus must be unleashed against Leeds.

AND in other news: Cost £0, now worth £15.3m: Parish struck gold with “fantastic” £25k-p/w Palace dynamo

Article title: Crystal Palace: Jean-Philippe Mateta must be restored vs Leeds

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