Crystal Palace could be without talented winger Wilfred Zaha against Arsenal as he was forced to sit out Ivory Coast’s Wembley friendly with England after suffering a grade two hamstring injury
The winger was left out of the Ivory Coast squad for last night’s friendly with England, which the Three Lions won 3-0, with his national team manager Patrice Beaumelle revealing that the 29-year-old has a grade one or two strain on his hamstring.
Beaumelle said: ‘After the first game [against France] he felt some pain behind in the hamstring. Because we flew the following day after France and because he is [plays] here it was easier for him to get an X-ray [here].
‘He had a grade one or two injury and because of the schedule of Crystal Palace, I understand the busy schedule, we don’t have to take any risks because if it gets worse it is maybe six weeks or two months for out.
‘For me he should have played this game for him. It was a dream to play against England, playing in Wembley, London. This is football.
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‘We will see [how long he is out] with Crystal Palace. Today I released him to go and have some care with his club. I asked him to [then] come with the team. He was so sad because he wanted to play but, for me, a grade two is an injury.
‘Imagine we put him in and after five minutes … for what? And it was an opportunity for other players to play as a team but of course I would have liked him to play with the Elephants.’
But attention now turns to club football and if this injury is as serious as feared, Zaha is now a major doubt for Palace’s important Premier League games against Arsenal and Leicester City, as well as the FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea on 17th April.
His injury could not have come at a worse time then, and Palace boss Patrick Vieira is now potentially without two of his star players after winger Michel Olise picked up a foot injury while playing for France U21s last week.
Michael Olise also withdrew from the France Under-21 squad due to inflammation in his foot. The Palace attacking midfielder was unable to train after discomfort in his left foot forced him to withdraw according to The Athletic.
Crystal Palace are in excellent form at the moment. They’ve only lost one match in the last two months, and it took an 89th-minute winner from Chelsea to inflict that sole defeat.
Other recent results include a 0-0 draw with league leaders Manchester City, a 2-0 win over European hopefuls Wolves, and most recently a 4-0 thrashing of Everton.
With Zaha making 24 Premier League appearances this season and Olise making 22, it’s clear that their absence would have an impact on Palace. But it’s going to be a tough away game either way.