Skip to main content

Patrick Vieira ponders formation change in absence of on-loan Conor Gallagher

Norwich City v Crystal Palace – Premier League – Carrow Road
(Image credit: Joe Giddens)

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira has hinted the enforced absence of Conor Gallagher for Saturday’s visit of Chelsea could see the hosts make a rare formation change.

The Eagles will be without their seven-goal hitman due to the terms of his loan agreement from the new Club World Cup champions.

England international Gallagher has been a key figure in Vieira’s debut season at Selhurst Park where the former Arsenal captain has regularly used a 4-3-3 formation but those tactics could be mixed up for the London derby.

“No injuries outside of Nathan Ferguson,” the Palace boss said.

“We knew the rules before signing Conor so it is not a surprise at all that he won’t be involved in the games against Chelsea.

“We try a different system, we try different players and still we have to have a reflection about who will play to replace Conor.”

Palace were without Gallagher for the opening day loss at Stamford Bridge, which saw Vieira begin life as a manager in the Premier League with a disappointing 3-0 defeat.

The Eagles are much improved now and have integrated summer signings like Joachim Andersen, Will Hughes and Michael Olise into the starting XI since the previous clash in August.

While Chelsea enter this fixture following Club World Cup success in Abu Dhabi, the Blues have struggled domestically in recent months and won only two of their last eight league matches to fall behind in the title race.

“There is no doubt we are a better team than we were when we played them before,” Vieira insisted.

“It is a massive challenge but really exciting at the same time. We know how good they can be and it will be a home game so we have to play with tempo, with rhythm and we have to be aggressive.

“We need to have all those ingredients to give them problems but we know we are capable of doing it.

“We have to play with excitement because the fans and the stadium will be up for it, so we have to be ready and play well because any mistakes we make, regarding the talent they have, we can get punished straight away.

“Again I believe if we play to the level we are capable of, we can get the crowd behind (us) and we can have important moments in the game, then it is really important for us to take our chances in those important moments.”

Vieira also paid tribute to opposite number Thomas Tuchel, who has won four of their five meetings.

The duo faced off on four occasions in France when the current Palace boss was in charge of Nice and while Tuchel was at Paris St Germain.

“I think it is a fantastic achievement as a manager,” Vieira said of Chelsea’s Club World Cup win last weekend.

“Since he arrived there, you make a judgement about what you are winning at the end of the season so winning the Champions League and being the world champions, it is difficult to do better than that.”

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1