Crystal Palace host West Ham this weekend and will be hoping to build on their 2-0 win over Fulham last time out, where Christian Benteke and Jordan Ayew played up front while Wilfried Zaha’s suspension ensured he could play no part in the victory. Both hitmen played well and Roy Hodgson must continue with two up front next time out but not for the reason you think.
Zaha’s sarcastic clapping of referee Andre Marriner in the Eagles’ clash with Southampton earned him a second yellow in quick succession of the first and so his side were forced to do battle with the Cottagers without him.
Thanks to a textbook Luka Milivojevic penalty and a Jeffrey Schlupp tap-in though, Hodgson’s side emerged victorious in their second game this season without the influential winger, while Benteke almost scored a wonder-goal to break his season-long drought.
Hodgson has chopped and changed between an orthodox 4-4-2 and a 4-3-3 this season depending on his personal but, looking at West Ham’s biggest threats, it is essential that he opts for the former and deploys Andros Townsend on the right flank.
Felipe Anderson has been a standout performer for the Hammers since signing from Lazio in the summer and poses a huge threat when allowed to cut inside from the left onto his favoured right foot. While Aaron Wan-Bissaka has all the tools to deal with Anderson, Hodgson should take no chances by instructing the tireless Townsend to track back and help out his compatriot.
The Palace number 10’s wonder-strikes from distance have deservedly earned him headlines this season but he is an engine in the ranks, too. His dogged defensive work in the win over Manchester City was crucial – as was his thunderous volley – and will be once again if Palace are to negate the dangerous West Ham winger.
Which player with “no potential” has just been named Crystal Palace’s worst ever January signing? Find out in the video below…