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Crystal Palace: Patrick Vieira dealt huge blow before FA Cup semi-final

Crystal Palace are set to face the returning Romelu Lukaku on Sunday as the Eagles take on Chelsea at Wembley in the FA Cup semi-final.

What’s the story?

Speaking to the media ahead of tomorrow’s showdown (via football.london), Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel revealed that Lukaku is now back in training and could make a return to his matchday squad.

The Belgian has been recovering from an Achilles problem which saw him miss the Blues’ 6-0 win at Southampton as well as the second leg of their Champions League defeat to Real Madrid on Tuesday.

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However, the striker could be back in contention at the worst possible time for Palace, who face their biggest game of the season.

Bad news for Palace

Although the 28-year-old’s return to Stamford Bridge hasn’t quite gone to plan as yet, Lukaku is still one of the deadliest strikers in European football.

The Belgian has scored just five goals in the Premier League this term, however, that’s a major anomaly when assessing his career numbers.

In 544 senior appearances, the forward has netted 271 goals as well as earning 101 caps for Belgium, scoring 68 goals for the Red Devils.

Moreover, the Eagles are Lukaku’s fifth-favourite team to play against, with the striker scoring eight goals in 13 career appearances against the South London outfit.

However, the last time the Belgian faced Palace will bring the Selhurst faithful some confidence.

Indeed, in the last meeting between the two sides, the striker broke the record for the fewest touches ever made during 90 minutes in a Premier League match – enjoying just seven touches in Chelsea’s 1-0 win at Selhurst Park.

Should Palace fear Lukaku?

Yes

Yes

No

No

Victories over Millwall, Hartlepool United, Stoke City and Everton have seen Patrick Vieira’s side make it to Wembley whilst Chelsea have overcome Chesterfield, Plymouth Argyle, Luton Town and Middlesbrough, with the Eagles the first Premier League side Tuchel’s men have had to face in the competition.

The winner will face Liverpool in the final with Sunday’s showdown kicking off at 16:30.

AND in other news: Vieira must finally unleash £37k-p/w Palace “baller”, his “magic” could stun Chelsea

Article title: Crystal Palace: Patrick Vieira dealt huge blow before FA Cup semi-final

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