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Chelsea and Crystal Palace are not one-man teams, insists Roy Hodgson

Palace manager says although Zaha and Hazard get the headlines, but both teams have plenty of 'unsung heroes'

Eden Hazard's two goals against Watford took his season's tally of goals to 12. Reuters
Eden Hazard's two goals against Watford took his season's tally of goals to 12. Reuters

Roy Hodgson has hit back at suggestions that Crystal Palace and Chelsea are one-man teams.

Palace host Chelsea on Sunday with Wilfried Zaha and Eden Hazard expected to spearhead the attacks of each side.

Palace's victory over Leicester City earlier this month was the first time the Eagles had won a Premier League match without Ivory Coast forward Zaha in their team for more than two years.

Chelsea, meanwhile, have relied heavily on the attacking threat of Belgium international Hazard, who has 12 goals already this season.

However, Palace manager Hodgson insists there is far more to both teams.

He said: "Any accusation to a manager of a team or a player in the team that you are a one-man team would be very unwillingly accepted.

"Most of us would point out that's not the case but people still say what they want to say.

"If you're asking me do I think Chelsea are a one-man team, I don't. Or if Palace are a one-man team, then I don't.

"Each team has got good players and good players are the ones that grab the headlines. I'm pretty sure Manchester City would reject suggestions Sergio Aguero makes them a one-man team.

"If you ask do these teams have very good players capable of turning a game and making the game a successful one for them, then I'm pretty sure Maurizio Sarri and myself would be happy to say yes.

"Hazard and Wilf come into that category.

"We have a lot of unsung heroes who do not get the headlines that their performances deserve, but I don't think I am in an unusual situation with that.

"The articles and TV shows tend to single out the same star quality players, but there are a few players beneath that who deserve a bigger pat on the back than they sometimes get."

Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey and full-back Martin Kelly are back from injury and available to face Chelsea.

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Meanwhile, Maurizio Sarri has hailed Cesc Fabregas' importance to his Chelsea set-up, revealing he wants the Spain midfielder to stay at Stamford Bridge.

Fabregas has been limited to five Premier League appearances this term, with Italy international Jorginho Sarri's preferred option at the base of midfield.

Fabregas has been linked with moves away from West London, but Italian manager Sarri insists he wants to hold on to the 31-year-old player.

"In this position we have only two players, Jorginho and Fabregas, so for me it would be really a problem without Cesc," Sarri said.

"I want him to stay, I don't know the final decision of Cesc and the club of course.

"But for me it's very important and if Cesc will go I think that we need to buy another player, and it's not easy because, technically, Cesc is a very important player.

"And I think that in the market it's very difficult to find a player with his characteristics."

Senior Chelsea players such as Fabregas, David Luiz and Gary Cahill are all on contracts that expire next summer, but Sarri said he intends to "respect" the Blues' policy of only offering one-year extensions to players aged 30 and older.

Updated: December 30, 2018 08:49 AM

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