Ivory Coast playmaker Wilfried Zaha has given Crystal Palace an injury scare ahead of West Ham’s visit to Selhurst Park on Tuesday night.
Zaha was clearly hampered by an injury problem during the second half of the game against Arsenal when Palace were denied victory by the outstretched arms of Gunners goalkeeper Bernd Leno.
The 28-year-old was a surprise absentee for Palace, the club talisman not even included in the matchday squad for the trip to Manchester City, while Gary Cahill replaced Cheikhou Kouyate.
Hodgson later confirmed after the 4-0 defeat at the hands of Pep Guardiola’s side that he had suffered an injury in the game against Arsenal and is therefore a doubt for West Ham’s trip to Selhurst Park.
“Wilf, unfortunately, picked up a knock in the game against Arsenal,” Hodgson said in quotes provided by the club website. “The turnaround has been quite quick, and we haven’t been able to turn him around in time.”
“Every time Wilf doesn’t play it’s a miss, that’s been well documented. We’d have loved to have him here – and we’d have loved to have had Cheikhou [Kouyate] here – but these things happen in a game of football and we’re fortunate that with a couple of days between the games we haven’t picked up more injuries than the one Wilf picked up.”
Zaha has been Hodgson’s best performer this season as his impressive form upfront has helped balance their defensive frailties at the back over the course of the campaign.
He will be assessed at Palace’s training ground on Monday before the Premier League clash with West Ham.
Palace will also be without Jeffrey Schlupp, who is currently sidelined after suffering a hamstring injury against Sheffield United, while Wayne Hennessey, Connor Wickham and Nathan Ferguson are also out of action.
Hodgson faces a nervous wait over the fitness of Zaha ahead of welcoming West Ham to south London, having seen the Palace talisman top the club’s goal-scoring charts this season to score eight goals in 17 appearances – more than his teammates Christian Benteke and Eberechi Eze combined, per Transfermarkt.
The Palace boss is hopeful that Zaha will be available for the West Ham game but the full extent of his injury is currently unknown and as such he remains a concern heading into the clash.
If he is ruled out then Jordan Ayew is set to replace the former Manchester United player as Palace look for a vastly improved performance after suffering a humiliating defeat at the hands of John Stones, Ilkay Gundogan and Raheem Sterling last Sunday.
Ayew offered very little against Guardiola’s side, however, as he struggled to earn a foothold in the game, managing just 15 passes from a possible 20 and watching helpless as City cruised to a comfortable victory over the Eagles at the Etihad.
Losing Zaha for an extended period of time would leave Hodgson in a precarious position as his side have lost two out of their past three games across all competitions.
AND in other news, Crystal Palace winger Andros Townsend was largely anonymous against Man City…