Rafa – Slimani Could Be Available For Sunday – Injury Only Slight

Rafa Benitez has given his press conference for the vital game at Selhurst Park on Sunday against fellow strugglers Crystal Palace who have 2 points more than us and one place above us in the Premier League.

So a win can see us go ahead of Palace in the league table.

Rafa Benitez – at his press conference

Rafa has said Slimani has been training and his thigh injury is only slight and he could be available to play against Crystal Palace.

That’s good news but he will not be risked if not 100%.

Here are some of the initial comments from Rafa:

“Slimani has been working with the physios and we will see if he is available tomorrow. We have another training session.”

“I will not waste too much time or not on that (the window). The key is we have three new players, we moved six players out, and now this squad know their future is here.”

“The atmosphere is relaxed and now the players know it depends on them and us to win games”

“There are five points between 10th and bottom. It’s very close down there. Even if you draw a game you know the next game could see you move ahead.”

“Diame’s played well for two or three games. He gives us energy and he’s clever the way he understands what you ask him to do.”

“Crystal Palace are a good team with very good players. It is a difficult stadium and a difficult place to get points.”

“But we must have confidence we can do it. It is very close at the bottom and for us it is another challenge to survive”

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13West Ham38-2042

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Comments welcome.

28 comments so far

  • RobLeenio

    Feb 2, 2018 at 2:00 PM

    Comment #1

    Yeah, the injury was smoke and mirrors – debut hat-trick coming up, instant fan favourite

    “we moved six players out, and now this squad know their future is here” – therefore, those that were moved out know their future is not here, or is that reading too much into it? Except for Woodman and those loaned out at the start of the season, I think this may be true.

  • Tinman

    Feb 2, 2018 at 2:02 PM

    Comment #2

    Sounds promising

  • Tinman

    Feb 2, 2018 at 2:04 PM

    Comment #3

    Rob, I thought the same. But I think he means short term future. I.e till the summer. As none of the loan signings know their future is here long term

  • hibbit

    Feb 2, 2018 at 2:11 PM

    Comment #4

    it will all depend where were playing our football next season ??

    if we still have Rafa or Ashley because we won’t have both !!

  • RobLeenio

    Feb 2, 2018 at 2:24 PM

    Comment #5

    Hibbit, you’re right – as incompatible as Sonny and Cher. I guess there is some inbuilt flexibility in the transfer dealings we’ve had – if we go down we release Slimani and Kenedy back to their clubs and recall our transferred players, if we stay up we try to buy them and flog the likes of Mitro. It almost looks like a sensible strategy, if I thought Ashley and Charnley were capable of thinking that far ahead

  • Munster Mag

    Feb 2, 2018 at 2:25 PM

    Comment #6

    We’ll have rafa if we stay up hibbitt and Fats will be gone

  • Toonces

    Feb 2, 2018 at 2:29 PM

    Comment #7


    If fit, Slimani must play.

    My concern for Palace is how we handle Zaha and Townsend. I think Dummett will do the job on his side, I am concerned about the right side with Yedlin and (god help us) Manquillo. Yedlin has the pace to stay with Zaha. He just tends to over commit and then his pace works against him. Manquillo is just awful and I don’t think he should even make the bench. I suggest that Mbemba be considered on the right against Palace. He has good pace, is more physical than Yedlin and could perhaps do a better job on either Zaha or Townsend (should they switch sides). Also, when Mbemba plays at fullback his occasional lapse is a little less dangerous than if he was in the middle. If Yedlin can keep his head, then I ‘m ok with him there but would prefer Mbemba for this match.

  • Munster Mag

    Feb 2, 2018 at 2:44 PM

    Comment #8

    Slimani looks like some French Algerian assassin from a Jason statham movie :). Kennedy looks like a lovely player. in fairness a few of us said that and I think we will be right. I’m getting the man love and I think the 3 new guys will inject some confidence and edge. Beating palace would be heaven.

  • lochinvar

    Feb 2, 2018 at 2:46 PM

    Comment #9

    We’ve had enough stress over the last month with the transfer window before adding in the Ashley factor. Let’s not worry about Palace, let them worry about us !
    Kennedy ripping their defence open, Slimani popping in the goals, Gayle scoring off the loose balls, Diame steeming forward, Shelvey dictating the game, Ritchie back to form and so much more


  • Munster Mag

    Feb 2, 2018 at 2:47 PM

    Comment #10

    I’m with u toonces and wud have mbemba but I don’t think he’s a good player at all.

  • Munster Mag

    Feb 2, 2018 at 2:47 PM

    Comment #11

    Good man lochinvar

  • Toonces

    Feb 2, 2018 at 2:48 PM

    Comment #12

    Loch – I like that! HWTL!

  • Toondog2

    Feb 2, 2018 at 2:53 PM

    Comment #13

    HWTL, Good Man lochinvar

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Feb 2, 2018 at 2:54 PM

    Comment #14

    Yedlin marked Zaha out of the game the last time we played them although we were a lot more solid at the back at that point

    Whoever is on Dummett’s side will be marked out the game just got to hope Clark doesn’t fall asleep when Benteke makes a run on him

  • hibbit

    Feb 2, 2018 at 2:57 PM

    Comment #15

    Munster Mag

    that’s my thinking, but Rafa has to keep us up for that to pan out

  • DaveD1000

    Feb 2, 2018 at 3:14 PM

    Comment #16

    Dummet and Yedders did a job last time and if the new lads can keep them busy at the pointy end that should help

  • Munster Mag

    Feb 2, 2018 at 3:22 PM

    Comment #17

    Hibbitt, I think he will. Kenedy is a fine player and not a known entity. Slimani is fresch and will give us power. If the keeper is good maybe we can have someone who commands the box? Either way its a good upgrade by Charnley, given how little has been spent. I’ve got the man love for Slimani and Kenedy, gotta get a grip !

  • willowdalerez

    Feb 2, 2018 at 3:26 PM

    Comment #18

    Here’s my team for Sunday (sticking with my call for Burnley except Slimani if fit)

    Jan 31, 2018 at 5:55 AM
    Comment #171

    Yedlin Lascelles Mbemba Dummett
    Ritchie Shelvey Diame
    Murphy Kenedy
    Slimani (Gayle)


  • G

    Feb 2, 2018 at 3:30 PM

    Comment #19

    Lots of people’s predictions seem to include Joselu in their line ups. I know Rafa suggested he may start, however, after the penalty and the scuffed open goal miss I can’t see Rafa giving him another game. I think Gayle will start this one with Slimani on the bench assuming the thigh isn’t an issue.

  • willowdalerez

    Feb 2, 2018 at 3:36 PM

    Comment #20

    If Slimani injury isn’t smoke and mirrors do hope Rafa rests him fully. Last thing we need is for him to make it worse Sunday and be left with Horse / Gayle / Perez as only options for the balance of the season.

    Just goes to show why this window wasn’t good. We lose Slimani or Kenedy for any stretch and were playing with essentially the same side as before it closed. No love for Charnley or his master from me.

  • RobLeenio

    Feb 2, 2018 at 3:45 PM

    Comment #21

    I’m not sure Kenedy will start – he was knackered when he came off on Wednesday, he’s not used to playing one game a week, let alone two and he’s bound to have had heavy legs the last couple of days. I’d be happy to see him on the bench with Atsu starting on the left, Murphy on the right and Kenedy on for the last 20 minutes when Palace are getting tired.

  • G

    Feb 2, 2018 at 3:46 PM

    Comment #22

    Lots of people also suggesting playing Slimani with Perez up front. This actually makes a lot of sense to me. Perez makes an awful lot of space for other players to move into. Could be our best pairing up top in years.

  • Mag :P

    Feb 2, 2018 at 3:53 PM

    Comment #23

    All I know is, Murphy definitely has to start with Kenedy featuring at some point.

    Murphy is turning into an important player for us.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Feb 2, 2018 at 3:54 PM

    Comment #24


    Given that he is a fit young man, if he’s too knackered to play on Sunday then he’s been a waste of money.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Feb 2, 2018 at 3:55 PM

    Comment #25


    I agree re. Perez, he could really start to blossom with the right players around him.

  • RobLeenio

    Feb 2, 2018 at 4:04 PM

    Comment #26

    Bill, I’m not too sure – he’s not match fit yet, he will be in a couple of weeks. Rafa isn’t the type to flog a player so I think he’ll not push him too hard and will have him on the bench this weekend. He may not even come on if the game is going well.

  • RobLeenio

    Feb 2, 2018 at 4:06 PM

    Comment #27

    Also, I’m pretty sure Slimani will get a full debut. If he does, Rafa may see him and Kenedy starting together as too much disruption to the team given they’ve probably only had one training session together.

  • dig-n-dig22

    Feb 2, 2018 at 4:17 PM

    Comment #28

    IMO if Slimain Dubravka, fit, start with them or start with Gayle. Joselus confidence is shot. We all know Gayle finished half chances in the Championship, I feel Kenedy will create space for gayle. The last thing Palace want to hear, Slamani fit. although I think Shelvey is lazy I think he could do a job for us on Sunday, On present form Murphy must start, not impressed with Clarke, never been impressed with Dummet. IMO


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