The Crystal Palace fans are feeling nervous in the Transfer Tavern ahead of an absolutely huge fixture against Huddersfield at The John Smith’s Stadium.
Roy Hodgson takes his side to Yorkshire tomorrow afternoon for a relegation six-pointer which has the potential to make or break their season. In recent weeks Palace have been unfortunate to suffer a hat-trick of defeats against quality opposition, but they face a challenge of a completely different nature tomorrow against a side who are also facing the prospect of relegation.
As things stand Palace are 4 points adrift of Huddersfield who currently sit in 15th place, and that fact alone underlines the importance of the clash tomorrow for both sides. A win should enable Palace to climb out of the relegation zone, whereas a defeat would put Huddersfield within touching distance of safety.
The stakes couldn’t be higher, so Hodgson will have to be wise with his team selection ahead of Palace’s biggest fixture of the season so far. One player who he will need to carefully consider starting is Wilfired Zaha (valued at £22.5 million by Transfermarkt), as his pace and creativity represents one of the clubs most valuable weapons in the final-third of the pitch.
Zaha was absent from Palace’s first-team with a knee injury for three-games in February before he made his return against Chelsea last weekend as a half-time substitute. The Ivorian international reminded The Eagles faithful what they had been missing in the dying embers of the game by intelligently drawing in a handful of Chelsea players before slotting the ball through to Patrick Van Aanholt who made no mistake in firing the ball into the back of the net.
Zaha looked sharp during his 45 minute appearance at Stamford Bridge, but whether Hodgson will deem him fit enough to start the match against Huddersfield remains to be seen. Considering the magnitude of the fixture, Hodgson would be foolish not to hand Zaha a starting berth tomorrow afternoon despite his recent struggle with injury, as Palace’s attacking threat will be significantly boosted by his inclusion.