Dan Cook has been speaking about how big of a loss James McArthur will be for Crystal Palace on the HLTCO podcast.
Last weekend, Crystal Palace played a Premier League match under Patrick Vieira without James McArthur for the first time, with the 34-year-old having picked up a hamstring injury that saw Cheikhou Kouyate and Luka Milivojevic start in midfield.
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The Eagles had to settle for a point away to Burnley, which may be a slight disappointment considering they had won their last two games 2-0 against Manchester City and Wolves, however, with Conor Gallagher having to establish a new partnership in midfield without McArthur, it might not be as surprising.
Cook gave his thoughts on how much McArthur’s absence will impact Palace.
“Of course, James McArthur is out with a relatively long-term hamstring injury now, and there is no doubt in my mind that we missed the presence of the Scotsman in the middle of the park next to Conor Gallagher.
“For my money, Conor looked a little bit off the pace, particularly in the second half. It’s no real surprise, given the emotional energy that I’m sure he has expended on England duty this week.
“It was no doubt, a massive moment for him and his family to get that full England call-up and make his England debut.
“And whilst he ran himself into the ground, you could tell that he wasn’t quite at the same sort of energy level that we’ve become accustomed to from him since he arrived on loan from Chelsea.”
TIF Thoughts on Palace missing McArthur…
It’s no surprise to see Cook is worried about how big of a loss McArthur is and the void he leaves in Palace’s midfield as he has been a great player for them this season, with him and Gallagher appearing to have a brilliant understanding of each other and work superbly well in carrying out Vieira’s instructions as a pair.
The £1.8m-rated Scotsman and Gallagher are top two in the team for pressing the ball, while McArthur has the most successful pressures with 77 compared to Kouyate – who started against Burnley and only successfully pressed the ball 36 times (FBRef).
This loss could even see Vieira potentially alter the way Palace play, because if they don’t have two midfielders that can press the ball all game, they may have to sit deeper and soak up more pressure.