West Ham have been going through something of an injury crisis in recent weeks and despite suggestions that Marko Arnautovic is back and ready for selection against Crystal Palace, the Irons look likely to be without two other first-teamers for their trip to SE25.
According to West Ham fan-run site Claret & Hugh, Samir Nasri is still struggling with a calf strain which initially they had hoped he’d have recovered from by now. The former Arsenal man could well be forced out of contention for a squad place against the Eagles, having made a bright start to life in West Ham’s colours.
Alongside the Frenchman, full-back Aaron Cresswell is believed to be suffering from a dead leg in the aftermath of the 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Monday night, putting his participation into doubt too. The word from the site referenced above is that, despite training away from the squad since, he could well play some part but as we all know, niggling injuries often have a habit of flaring up just before or during games; particularly when the pace of play is frantic.
As things stand, West Ham find themselves in something of a limbo, not quite good enough to hold out serious hopes of a late charge for a European place whilst nowhere near bad enough to have genuine concerns about being dragged into a relegation battle. Taking that into consideration, there could well be worries over a lack of focus creeping in during the final weeks of their campaign but a win or loss at Selhurst this Saturday will surely act as a kick up the backside either way.
For Palace, three points could see us pulling seven points clear of the drop zone with 12 games left to play. Whilst it would be far from a job well done at that point, the buffer could in theory enable us to really kick on in the games which remain between then and May.
I’m expecting a spirited contest this weekend, that’s for sure.