Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has explained why Wilfried Zaha was missing for the Premier League clash against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday night.
Speaking to the media after the 4-0 away loss, Hodgson said that due to a knock he picked up against Arsenal, Wilfried Zaha could not make the traveling squad.
The attacker looked dangerous against Mikel Arteta’s side on Thursday night, but picked up his fair share of free-kicks during the game which put him at risk of getting an injury. Granit Xhaka stepped on his left foot and that had bad consequences for the Eagles who rely on Zaha’s pace and skill to get results.
A frustrated Hodgson explained that the attacker was missing from the trip up north alongside Senegalese anchor Cheikhou Kouyate who was also absent from the squad, but it is not known exactly why he was not available for the game.
“Every time Wilf doesn’t play it’s a miss, that’s been well-documented. We’d loved to have had him here, we’d loved to have had Cheik here as well, but these things happen in a game of football,” he said.
Hodgson said he had to improvise with what he had going to the game, luckily majority of the team was available.
“We were perhaps fortunate that with only a couple of days between the games that we didn’t pick up even more injuries like the one Wilf picked up,” he added.
Zaha was a surprise absence from the squad against City and an unwelcome one for the fans who are well aware of Palace’s struggles without their star man.
To prove his influence in the team, the Eagles have just two wins from their last 16 Premier League games without the 28-year-old Ivorian. This season alone, Zaha has scored eight league goals and assisted another two strikes in 16 appearances.
His growing combination with Eberechi Eze and Christian Benteke has been yielding the desired results for Palace who are currently 13th on the table with 23 points from 19 games.
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By Prince Sobayeni