Crystal Palace has performed above most people’s expectations this season. Currently sitting 9th place in the Premier League they have managed to drag themselves up to just 2 points away from the top six.
This means a strong run of form could see them sneaking into the European places. In fact, at just 8 points away from the top four, Crystal Palace even has an outside chance at grabbing a Champion’s League place.
A big part of the team’s success this season has been the form of Jeffrey Schlupp.
Schlupp’s lightning pace has been a big factor
Schlupp is often an underappreciated aspect of the Palace’s success this season. While most of the focus is on Zaha, Schlupp’s lightning pace has been vital to their fast break and counter-attacking style.
His injury means that most bookmakers have a lot less confidence in Palace being successful in the second half of the season and have shown a significant downturn in the Premier League odds offered for a Palace win.
This is mainly down to the loss of Schlupp taking advantage of the space that is left when Zaha is double or even triple marked.
What many people seem to forget is that Schlupp is already a Premier League winner. Not only does he have obvious attributes, like incredible pace and a hugely powerful shot, but he has a pedigree that backs this up.
In the year that Leicester won the Premier League, Schlupp was voted as their young player of the year.
This shows that not only was he part of a league winning squad, but he also stood out within that squad. In fact, the year before the title win he was both players’ player and young player of the year, showing that he has always been a squad member with plenty of talent.
What he offers to Palace
Schlupp is a lot younger than people expect and at 27 he is coming into his prime. His ability to offer a dual attacking threat with Zaha means that the loss of Schlupp to injury will impact the ability of Palace to open teams up.
With both Schlupp and Zaha playing, teams cannot afford to leave the wider areas open, but with Schlupp injured it makes it easier for the opposition to close down Zaha and make him less effective.
This means that this injury will make life a lot harder for Palace. It could see them dropping out of European contention if his injury takes longer than the projected two months to heal.