Roy Hodgson faces a tough decision over whether to play star winger Wilfried Zaha this weekend, after he picked up a calf strain in training.
Ahead of the Eagles’ FA cup quarter-final against rivals Watford, manager Roy Hodgson will have to make a crucial decision on whether to risk the 26-year-old. Zaha’s absence would be a big blow for Crystal Palace, given that he is their second highest goalscorer in the Premier League with eight goals.
The Ivorian is certainly a controversial figure down at Vicarage Road, having won the decisive penalty in the sides’ Championship play-off final back in 2013. He has also had a hugely influential history against the Hornets, being involved in nine goals in 16 meetings and has been booked five times. Watford captain Troy Deeney had even admitted that his players target the Palace forward in an interview with BBC Radio Five Live last autumn.
“I know no one wants to hear that, but you go: ‘You hit (him) this time, you hit him the next time [by] taking it in turns kicking him’. You don’t have the same player tackle him because you know you’re going to get booked,” he said, reported by The Guardian.
Regardless of whether Zaha misses out on Saturday’s FA cup tie, fellow Crystal Palace midfielder James McArthur insisted the squad is one of the strongest he has been in and can challenge Watford for a place in the semi-finals.
“This is the best squad I’ve been involved in and it just seems to be getting better. If the manager makes six or seven changes, like he did against Burnley recently, the team doesn’t get weaker. So it’s the best squad I’ve been involved in and the talent of the squad is very, very high.”
The Eagles will be looking to upset the odds given that Watford completed the double over them in the Premier League this season, winning 2-1 on both occasions. Moreover, Javi Gracia’s side currently sit eighth in the table and are ten points ahead of Crystal Palace who are down in 14th.