On Tuesday Roy Hodgson provided an injury update on his squad and revealed that Mamadou Sakho will miss the clash against Manchester United on Wednesday as his struggles continue – the Frenchman limped off in the first half of the win over Leicester at the weekend.
Hodgson had been hopeful of the 29-year-old’s availability for the midweek battle with the Red Devils, saying after their emphatic 4-1 victory on Saturday:
“He [Sakho] missed a lot of training and didn’t play against Doncaster Rovers as a result of feeling the knee in the West Ham game so he was out for a week having treatment, but he trained all of this week in the lead up to this game.
“But obviously he felt the knee again today.
“So we will have to reassess it on Monday and hope for the best.”
However, far from ‘the best’ news awaited the Premier League’s oldest-ever manager, who has now confirmed that assessment of the defender’s knee is ongoing and that he will not be in contention for the visit of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and co.
Fortunately for the Selhurst Park outfit, United’s injury woes are far greater than theirs and the 13-time Premier League champions will be without up to ten players for the game, including Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.
The lightning-quick duo have become crucial to Norwegian Solskjaer’s style of play but he will likely be forced, now, to deploy the considerably less mobile Romelu Lukaku up front – this will surely be of huge relief to Scott Dann, who would have been totally mismatched against the aforementioned duo’s pace.
The veteran centre-back replaced 29-year-old Sakho at the heart of defence against Leicester and will likely continue to deputise next time out. The former Blackburn man will fancy himself far more in a physical battle than one of speed – he is surely one of the division’s slowest players.
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The 32-year-old might not be as quality a defender as Sakho, but he is a force to be reckoned with in the air – United have scored 11 goals from set-pieces this season and Palace have conceded 10, so Dann’s heading ability in defence of corners will be crucial.
Sakho’s injury is hardly a blessing in disguise for Palace but there is at least one positive to be taken from Dann replacing the former Liverpool man at centre-half.