Crystal Palace have received a big selection boost ahead of their Premier League encounter with Newcastle United this afternoon after talisman Wilfried Zaha was declared avaiable to play.
The highly influential 28-year-old was absent from Palace’s 2-2 draw with Arsenal last time out after returning from international duty with an illness, but Eagles manager Patrick Vieira confirmed that the Ivorian is now available for selection once again.
“He will be part of the squad tomorrow,” the 45-year-old confirmed in Friday’s press conference when asked about Zaha’s current situation.
The French tactician then provided an update on the fitness of attacking midfielder Eberechi Eze as he continues his recovery from an Achilles injury, declaring the youngster is still a few weeks away from making his first team comeback.
Vieira said: “He started training with the team, but he is still a couple of weeks away,” before confirming that he has no fresh fitness worries on his plate, with long-term absentee Nathan Ferguson the only player not in contention.
“No, we are looking good. Everyone outside Nathan trained this morning,” he concluded ahead of today’s crucial clash with Newcastle.
News that Zaha will be available for selection once again will leave Vieira feeling delighted, given the winger’s importance to the Eagles.
Last season, the Ivory Coast international was Palace’s top scorer in the league with 11 goals, but his influence over proceedings was far greater than just putting the ball in the back of the net. As per WhoScored, he averaged two shots, one key pass and 1.8 dribbles per game in 2020/21, placing him in the top three for each metric when compared to his teammates.
The versatile forward has started the current campaign in a similarly impressive fashion, bagging two goals and providing one assist in eight outings.
Therefore, Zaha’s return to fitness will be a big boost to Palace’s hopes of securing all three points against Newcastle, and his manager will no doubt be relieved to have him available once again.