Crystal Palace hosted Chelsea at Selhurst Park on Saturday afternoon but were unable to take any points from the game, and now a reliable source has revealed an injury update on players who were noticeably missing during the disappointing clash.
In a Q&A for The Athletic, journalist Dominic Fifield gave updates on the fitness of Joachim Andersen and James McArthur.
On McArthur, Fifield revealed:
“Vieira spoke on Jimmy McArthur yesterday and, as anticipated, the update was fairly pessimistic. He remains out “long-term” with a hip problem and is sorely missed. The head coach spoke about the team pining for his experience, and they will for a while yet.”
On Andersen, the writer confirmed:
“He is injured, I’m told. Don’t think it’s hugely serious, but definitely a niggle.”
It was reported earlier this week that McArthur could return for the Chelsea clash, but clearly that wasn’t possible and now it is looking like the injury is still more serious than anticipated, something Vieira should be gutted about when you consider their form in the Premier League at the moment.
Crystal Palace are now 17th in the league table after West Ham United secured a win to lift them out of the relegation zone, and with just six points tallied up after not winning a game in their last four outings, they could join Wolverhampton Wanderers and Leicester City in the bottom three if Nottingham Forest can take all three points from the King Power Stadium on Monday night.
There is a clear lack of experience and leadership in the team at present, something that the Palace manager will know is important to give the team their best chance of picking up points in the top flight.
Vieira is a huge admirer of McArthur and hailed the 34-year-old midfielder earlier this year, saying:
“Macca is one of the players we missed a lot because of what he brings us on the field.
“It’s not about the quality of the player, but it’s about his presence and his experience. He is vocal when he’s on the field, he is one of our leaders.”
Over last season, McArthur delivered three assists and created three big chances, made 1.4 interceptions, 1.6 tackles per game and won 4.6 duels per game, as well as completing 70% of his dribbles from his position in the centre of the pitch, proving he is a dominant and effective presence in the team.
For context, no player in the entire Palace squad won more interceptions a match than him last term, while only four other individuals racked up more tackles, suggesting his combative attitude is very much crucial for Vieira.
With that being said, the French manager will need to find a solution to their struggle if Palace are going to have any chance of having a much more comfortable season over the coming weeks and months, otherwise a difficult relegation battle could be the harsh reality for the Eagles.
Indeed, Andersen’s miss will not be helpful either, particularly after he starred for Denmark, keeping the likes of Kylian Mbappe quiet in a 2-0 win over France during the international break. Having established a timely run of form for his country, it will be a shame that he’s now nursing a problem of his own.