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Hodgson: Zaha will be key against Brighton

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Wilfried Zaha will be the key to Crystal Palace’s hopes of beating bitter rivals Brighton on Saturday, says Roy Hodgson.

The Eagles will welcome Brighton at Selhurst Park and will be pumped up to defeat Chris Hughton’s men after suffering a loss in their first meeting.

But one man who has been the architect of the Eagles rise in recent times is Zaha with five goals in his last five games, as well as five goals in nine appearances against Brighton.

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And manager Hodgson is set to put him the front to lead the forward line again on Saturday.

He told Sky Sports: “He’s a very important player for us, there’s no question of that. Each team will have a player that they think is crucial to their chances of winning, and Wilf is the obvious name to bring forward when it comes to Crystal Palace.

“He’s been doing very well lately, scoring goals and assisting, but also his general play has been very good.

“It’s important for us that he produces his best form tomorrow because we know that a Wilf Zaha in good form is a major headache for any team in the Premier League.”

Fellow strike partner Mitchy Batshuayi may equally prove to be a handful for the Seagulls on Saturday but the focus will be mainly on Zaha.

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