Roy Hodgson delivered some pretty worrying news for Crystal Palace fans at his Friday press conference, as three first team stars will miss clash against West Ham.
The Eagles welcome West Ham to Selhurst Park on Saturday in perhaps one of the most unpredictable games of the season.
The Hammers have beaten Arsenal and drawn with Liverpool since the turn of the year, but they have also been knocked out of the FA Cup by AFC Wimbledon and outplayed by both Bournemouth and Wolves in the Premier League.
Hodgson’s side meanwhile have won just three times at home all season in the Premier League, and they will reportedly be without three key players on Saturday.
Connor Wickham, who scored in the FA Cup win over Spurs, James Tomkins and Cheikhou Kouyate are all expected to miss the match, according to Hodgson.
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Wickham has been struggling with injuries ever since his arrival in south London, but the other two absentees could have major effects on the side.
The loss of Tomkins heaps immense pressure on Mamadou Sakho, who will have to be at his very best to perform alongside the experienced but ageing Scott Dann.
Finally, the absence of Kouyate offers a huge chance to Max Meyer, who has shown glimpses of brilliance since his arrival at the club last summer.
The crafty German playmaker has one goal and two assists in a little under 1,000 Premier League minutes, and a clash against West Ham’s fractured midfield (Carlos Sanchez and Jack Wilshere are out injured) is the perfect opportunity to prove to his manager that he should be playing more.
The 23 year-old is an expert at picking the ball up in tight spaces and getting his team on the front foot with his dribbling and passing, and his intelligence to drift into gaps in the midfield will make life very difficult for Declan Rice and Mark Noble.
In fact, his style will provide more of a problem for the Hammers than the boisterous and sometimes erratic Kouyate, who Noble and Rice know all about, so this could be a blessing in disguise for the Eagles.