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Crystal Palace: Vieira dealt Joachim Andersen injury blow

Crystal Palace have been dealt a huge injury blow which should spur chairman Steve Parish into action as we enter the last two weeks of the January transfer window.

What’s the word?

Joachim Andersen was forced off in Palace’s 1-0 defeat against Chelsea last weekend, and The Athletic‘s Palace reporter,Matt Woosnam has now provided an update on the centre-back via Twitter.

He wrote: “Palace defender Joachim Andersen expected to be out until next month with a calf injury picked up in Sunday’s 1-0 defeat by Chelsea.”

The Denmark international had started all but one game for Patrick Vieira in the Premier League before Wednesday’s 1-1 draw against Manchester United, which the former Lyon defender was forced to sit out.

He is also likely to miss tough upcoming fixtures against Newcastle United, Manchester United and Brighton, which is undoubtedly a blow to Palace’s chances when you consider his fine form this season, with WhoScored ranking him as the third-best performer in the squad.

Parish must act

Palace are not blessed with much squad depth in the heart of their defence, and while Chris Richards did an admirable job alongside Marc Guehi on Wednesday night – they were the Eagles’ two highest-rated players as per Sofascore – Andersen’s injury should spur the Eagles into action.

Should Guehi or Richards pick up an injury, it would leave just 33-year-old James Tomkins available as backup, as Nathan Ferguson is also still sidelined through injury.

The Eagles’ post-World Cup form has been far from encouraging, and throwing a 22-year-old Richards in the deep end alongside another 22-year-old in Guehi could spell trouble for Palace as they look to avoid being sucked into a relegation battle, which is not unthinkable given their upcoming fixtures.

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Andersen has proven himself to be a leader at the back for Palace this season, leading the way for clearances, passes and long balls per game, which also emphasises the creative impact that he can have from centre-back.

Vieira was full of praise for the 26-year-old’s importance at Selhurst Park last season, saying: “He is massively important. Joachim played in France, he played in Italy, he was in the Premier League last year. He has this experience of moving around and going to a new club.

“When you want to have possession and you have a centre-back who is really comfortable having the ball at his feet it’s quite important. He will be a massive help for Marc to build his confidence and he is doing really well.”

Therefore, it is a significant blow to the Palace manager that Andersen will be sidelined for a month, and Parish should surely consider bringing in another centre-back to aid Vieira in this month’s transfer window.