Crystal Palace will take on Brighton tonight at the Amex Stadium in their first Premier League fixture since New Year’s Day, when they lost to West Ham at Selhurst Park.
However, Eagles manager Patrick Vieira took to his pre-match press conference to deliver some bad news in the form of a double injury blow which will see James Tomkins and James McArthur unavailable for selection tonight, leaving Palace without five senior players for their trip to the south coast.
Vieira spoke specifically on Tomkins’ injury during his press conference and gave a rough idea of the timeframe of the defender’s absence, as he outlined: “It is an injury and we need to wait and see how he will improve. Not having him with us is losing an experienced player in the dressing room and on the field.
“We need to evaluate the injury week after week. Hopefully, it’ll be a couple of weeks, not months.”
As far as McArthur is concerned, Vieira revealed that the midfielder still has “a long way to go” in his recover despite there being rumours of an imminent comeback, after he had sustained a hamstring injury in November.
The 45-year-old will surely be gutted not to have five of his senior players available for tonight’s clash, with Cheikhou Kouyate, Jordan Ayew and Wilfried Zaha all away with their countries at the Africa Cup of Nations on top of the aforementioned injuries.
However, there is a silver lining for the Eagles as Vicente Guaita, who dislocated his finger in December and was sidelined in last weekend’s 2-1 FA Cup win at Millwall, is expected to return for the clash with the Seagulls.
Brighton are not an easy team to beat, picking up points in their last three games with a win and two draws, whereas Crystal Palace have lost two of their last three, only picking up one win in their nine away matches in the league. It’s a trend that Vieira will be keen to buck tonight, though he can perhaps take inspiration from the Eagles’ smash-and-grab victory on their last visit to this ground 11 months ago.
However, with McArthur being their second-best performer this season according to WhoScored and Tomkins having been a regular in the side prior to his injury setback, it is a huge blow for the Frenchman to be without the duo for tonight’s grudge match.