Crystal Palace and Wilfried Zaha have appealed his added one-match ban and £10,000 fine for improper conduct in his side’s clash with Southampton on 30th January. The winger was shown yellow for his reaction to a James Ward-Prowse tackle and, in feeling that he was wrongly booked, expressed his frustration by sarcastically clapping referee Andre Marriner, who produced the second yellow and red cards.
The 26-year-old’s appeal meant that he was available for the clash with West Ham this weekend, although the decision to do so could come back to haunt his side in the coming weeks.
West Ham held Palace to a 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park on Saturday and the influential number 11, who scored his side’s equaliser, was expected to serve another match ban this weekend, thus missing the clash.
His appeal, though, puts that suspension back to the Doncaster FA Cup game next Sunday – a far less important game. Palace failed to capitalise on their numerous opportunities in front of goal on Saturday, but Zaha’s second-half strike gave his side a platform to fight back in the second half, and they can feel aggrieved that they didn’t secure all three points in the end.
The decision to appeal may have benefitted him and his team in the short term but, if the former Manchester United man’s appeal is rejected, Palace could find themselves with an uphill task for the next few weeks.
When the FA rejects an appeal the ban can be extended, meaning that the number 11 could find himself watching from the stands for far longer than the one-match suspension he has been handed.
This month, Palace face Leicester – they have beaten the Foxes without Zaha earlier this season, though – and Man United, who have enjoyed a spectacular run since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s appointment.
Both games will require all hands on deck if Palace are to get results and their chances will significantly be reduced if their star winger is out of the picture. They may, then, wish that they had gritted their teeth through the West Ham clash without him, rather than be without him for the following few games.
The indoor football skills in the video below have to be seen to be believed…