Good news for everyone at Palace this week was the return of Wilfried Zaha to training – their talismanic forward is vital to how they play.
There were initial fears the hamstring injury Zaha picked up in Palace’s 0-0 draw with Newcastle just over three weeks ago, could put him out for around six weeks, but his return to training suggests the extent of the injury is not as significant as first feared.
👓 @wilfriedzaha 👓#CPFC pic.twitter.com/1SGPPI7YyC
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) February 15, 2023
Brentford usually play with three in midfield, so Patrick Vieira might look to combat this by sticking with the 4-4-2 that grabbed a point from Brighton. The return of Zaha might change that though and a formation that facilitates the key man might be used.
So, with Zaha back, how might the Eagles line up this weekend?
Crystal Palace (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Vicente Guaita
Guatia picks himself, the number one all season and a solid Premier League goalkeeper.
Defenders: Nathaniel Clyne, Marc Guéhi, James Tomkins, Tyrick Mitchell
Patrick Vieira revealed he did not know when Chris Richards would return from his back injury after missing the last game. With Joachim Andersen out injured as well it has been left to James Tomkins to deputise, and he even grabbed a goal in last week’s draw with Brighton.
The rest of the back four has been pretty constant for Palace this season.
Midfielders: Cheick Doucouré, Will Hughes
Will Hughes has impressed since getting the nod the last few weeks and the expectation is that he will keep his place over January loan signing Albert Sambi Lokonga. He is paired with Doucouré, who has been a stand-out player for this Crystal Palace side.
Forwards: Michael Olise, Wilfried Zaha, Jeffery Schlupp
The Zaha return might prompt the return of the front four which has been successful since the World Cup break. The addition of Schlupp to this three gives the team a bit more defensive stability, as he has played as deep as left-back in his career.
Olise is one of the league’s top talents and Palace will hope he can provide lots of output for the rest of the season.
Striker: Jordan Ayew
Ayew played in a two in the last game with Jean-Philippe Mateta, but might be used as a lone striker. He has performed this role before and will be well supported by the attacking flair behind him.
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