Vieira makes big Benteke call, £60k-p/w gem handed debut: Predicted Palace XI v LUFC - opinion

Vieira makes big Benteke call, £60k-p/w gem handed debut: Predicted Palace XI v LUFC - opinion
© Provided by Football FanCast Premier League – Burnley v Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace will be hoping to return to winning ways when they take on Leeds United in their intriguing Premier League clash this evening.

The Eagles fell short of their usual high standards against Aston Villa last time out, suffering defeat for the first time since 18 September after goals from Matt Targett and John McGinn cancelled out Marc Guehi’s consolation strike.

In Monday’s press conference, manager Patrick Vieira confirmed key centre-back Joachim Andersen will face another game sat on the sidelines with a thigh injury, while long-term absentee James McArthur will also be unavailable.

However, the Frenchman revealed that Eberechi Eze is continuing to make good progress following his first outing of the campaign over the weekend.

Vieira also eluded to the fact that he plans to utilise some of the fringe players in his first-team squad as the hectic festive fixture list gets underway, meaning £60k-per-week summer signing Will Hughes could be in line for his debut.

With that in mind, here’s how Football FanCast expects the 45-year-old tactician to line up at Elland Road, with two changes from the side that started on Saturday…

Vieira makes big Benteke call, £60k-p/w gem handed debut: Predicted Palace XI v LUFC - opinion
© Provided by Football FanCast

The virtually ever-present Vicente Guaita will start between the sticks once again, and the 34-year-old shot-stopper will be desperate to earn his fifth clean sheet of the campaign.

Ahead of the Spaniard will be a back four made up of Tyrick Mitchell, Guehi, James Tomkins and Joel Ward due to Andersen’s injury woes, and they’ll be looking to put in a better showing this time around.

Vieira faces a tricky decision over who to select in his midfield, though. Club captain Luka Milivojevic and the in-form Conor Gallagher should retain their places, while Hughes will be hoping to feature from the off at the expense of Cheikhou Kouyaté.

The biggest decision that the former Nice boss faces is who to start up front. Christian Benteke has already notched up four strikes throughout 2021/22, but Odsonne Edouard’s pace may see him partner Wilfried Zaha and Michael Olise in an exciting forward line.

And, in other news…Vieira must unleash Palace’s £79k-p/w “special talent” vs Leeds, he’s a game-changer

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