Ahead of West Ham’s clash with Crystal Palace, David Moyes says it is no surprise to see players suffering untimely injuries before the World Cup.
Several high-profile Premier League players are set to miss the World Cup. N’Golo Kante will definitely not feature for France, while his Chelsea team-mates Reece James and Ben Chilwell are doubts for England.
Tottenham duo Son Heung-min and Richarlison are nursing injuries, while Kyle Walker and Kalvin Phillips are also facing races against time to make England’s squad.
Moyes, though, feels there are no more injuries happening this season than any other campaign, but instead says the timing of the World Cup has simply highlighted the issues.
“It’s the time of the season where injuries happen,” he said. “We go into the Christmas period where you’re asking the players to play a ridiculous amount of games over a short period of time, but this is our culture and that’s what we do.
“But to highlight it more now, there’s probably the same number of injuries as there was last season when there was no World Cup, so if people are surprised then they shouldn’t be – because with football comes injuries. So I don’t think it should be too surprising knowing that there’s injuries (occurring).”
One player who will not be going to the World Cup is Wilfried Zaha, with the Ivory Coast having failed to qualify.
The winger’s contract expires next year but Palace manager Patrick Vieira said the club will do all they can to keep their talisman.
“We know how important it is for us and the club love him,” he said.
“So the decision has to be his decision, and we will do everything in our side to keep him because he is an important player for the football club, but then we will see.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
West Ham – Michail Antonio
Michail Antonio has been involved in 15 goals in his last 19 Premier League London derby matches for West Ham (eight goals, seven assists), and is looking to score in three consecutive appearances in such games for the first time since November 2019. He has been involved in more Premier League goals against Palace than he has any other opponent (eight).
Crystal Palace – Wilfried Zaha
Zaha has attempted more dribbles (take-ons) than any other player in the Premier League this season (58) and has also been fouled more often than anyone else (36). Meanwhile, of players with at least 30 take-ons attempted, teammate Eberechi Eze has the highest success rate (67 per cent – 26/39).
KEY OPTA FACTS
– All nine of Crystal Palace forward Odsonne Edouard’s Premier League goals have been scored in London. In Premier League history, only Tony Adams and Neal Ardley (12 each) have scored more goals with 100 per cent of them coming in the capital.
– West Ham have scored just three goals in the first half of Premier League games this season, fewer than any other side. However, no side has shipped fewer goals after half-time than the Hammers (five).
– Palace are winless in their last seven Premier League away games (D4 L3), failing to score in any of their last three. They last went four games without a goal on the road in June/July 2020.
– No team has won more Premier League games after conceding the first goal than Palace this season, with the Eagles winning three of their five games when doing so (L2). However, Vieira’s side have won just one of their five games when opening the scoring so far this term (D2 L2).
– West Ham have won each of their last three Premier League home games – they last won more in succession between March-May 2002 (4), after which they went on a 12-game winless run at home.