Roy Hodgson was left feeling hugely frustrated yet again following Crystal Palace’s 1-0 defeat at home to Tottenham and alongside his analysis of the game itself, he was forced to give injury updates on first-team stars James Tomkins and Wilfried Zaha.
Having started the game in his usual, confident fashion, it was horrible to see Tomkins pick up a nasty knock to his knee in the latter stages of the first-half. When it first happened, it looked for all the world as though he’d be leaving the field straight away but to his credit, he battled on, coming out for the first few minutes of the second period before finally being replaced by Martin Kelly mere minutes before Spurs scored their eventual winner.
In Zaha’s case, his has been an injury that Hodgson and his coaching staff were keen to keep under wraps in the build-up to the game, for fear of Tottenham altering their game-plan as a result. As is always the case with Wilf, he was desperate not to be ruled out of contention until the last minute but it was always felt that he would struggle to play a part against the Champions League chasing visitors.
Thankfully for all concerned, we now have a two-week gap until our trip to take on Mourinho’s Manchester United at Old Trafford, giving both Tomkins and Zaha plenty of time in which to ready themselves for what is sure to be another mammoth test. The fixture represents the last in what has been a horrific run of games for Roy Hodgson and his players, starting with Everton away, before taking on Arsenal at Selhurst, Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and Tottenham at home last weekend.
We all knew when the fixture list came out that this little run would be extremely tough but having dropped so many winnable points in the games beforehand, the narrow nature of our defeats in recent weeks has stung more than ever. The four games following our trip to Manchester see us facing Burnley, Brighton, West Ham and Leicester in succession which should offer some respite but for Roy Hodgson, the pressure will be on to ensure that points are picked up during that spell; if not we risk being cut adrift at the bottom.