Whelan: Leeds handed huge boost by early Palace team news
Leeds United have been handed a major boost ahead of Monday’s clash against Crystal Palace after Wilfried Zaha was ruled out through injury.
That is the view of former Leeds striker and lifelong Whites fan Noel Whelan who, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the 28-year-old would be a big miss for the Eagles.
As confirmed at his pre-match press conference, Roy Hodgson confirmed Zaha had been ruled out of Monday’s clash after picking up a hamstring injury against Newcastle United.
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) February 5, 2021
The electric forward has been a standout performer at Selhurst Park this season, with nine goals and two assists in 19 Premier League games.
Whelan compared Zaha’s absence to Leicester missing Jamie Vardy, with Leeds having beaten a Vardy-less Foxes side 3-1 last weekend.
Whelan told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge: “He’s a talisman for Crystal Palace, very much like when we played Leicester with Jamie Vardy.
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“When they’ve got big players and big characters and big personalities missing like that, it does make a difference to their side and that should be an added boost and added confidence for the Leeds United players knowing that he’s not on the field.
“Jamie Vardy is Leicester’s go-to, Wilfried Zaha is exactly the same, he’s a go-to, he’s a game-changer, a match-winner. Without a player like that in the side, that’s got to be an added boost and boost in confidence for the players knowing they don’t have to deal with that kind of quality.”
Leeds will be hoping to bounce back from a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Everton when the Eagles visit Elland Road.
Meanwhile, Hodgson’s men will travel to West Yorkshire off the back of a 2-1 win away at Newcastle United.