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May 26 2019 11.38pm

Key clashes: Cardiff v Palace

May 3 2019

Wilfried Zaha

Wilfried Zaha

Hunter Young compares the key clashes ahead of Crystal Palace's match away at Cardiff City.

After another uninspiring home performance against Everton, at least from an attacking standpoint, the Eagles will go on the road to Cardiff City Stadium to face the struggling Bluebirds. Cardiff sit four points from safety with two matches to go and suffered a brutal defeat last week to already-relegated Fulham.

If the Bluebirds are to have any hope of surviving in the top flight, a victory will be necessary. If Palace are to take points from this game, they will have to shake off the apathy that safety can create against an inspired Cardiff outfit.

Vicente Guaita v Neil Etheridge

In a season rife with struggle, Neil Etheridge has been a bright spot for the floundering Bluebirds and the Filipino keeper is the reason they have a chance of survival. Despite having conceded the most goals in the league – other than the two teams already relegated – that has more to do with the overall Cardiff team than Etheridge’s shortcomings.

Without the heroics of Vicente Guaita, and a little help from his beloved goalposts, Palace likely would have slipped to defeat against the Toffees last week. The Spaniard produced an excellent save in the second half to deny Cenk Tosun and preserve the draw. Whichever keeper is capable of producing a standout save could be the difference in a game that will likely see few chances created.

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Cheikhou Kouyate v Victor Camarasa

Victor Camarasa’s time a Cardiff is almost to as close as the Spanish midfielder will return to Real Betis after the campaign ends. The attacking midfielder will still want to help his struggling employers survive as he has appeared in more games than he ever has for Real Betis. Camarsa is the top scorer with five to his name and is the most dangerous attacking option Cardiff have.

There is little doubt that Cheikhou Kouyate has proven a steal of a summer transfer, becoming a key player in midfielder for a cost of less than £10million. The Senegalese captain has been a constant in the first 11 since the injury to Jeffery Schlupp and has been dependable and strong at the base of the midfield. Kouyate is also underrated going forward as his marauding charges with the ball from midfielder which surprises and challenges the opposing defenders.

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Wilfried Zaha v Bruno Ecuele Manga

Much like previous opponents Everton, Cardiff City host a pair of imposing centre-backs who accommodate for their lack of pace with strength and aerial prowess. Ecuele Manga has been deployed at both right back and centre back this season on his way to joining Etheridge as the only players to appear in all the Premier League matches to date.

After an excellent performance against Arsenal, Wilfried Zaha continued his up-and-down trend this season with a frustrating game against Everton. The dynamic forward struggled to link with Christian Benteke and often held the ball to long when he had it. Zaha will have to move the ball quickly to avoid the punishing tackles of Ecuele Manga and fellow centre-back Sean Morrison.

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