The pressure is growing ahead of Crystal Palace’s first trip to Wembley since 2016 for their FA Cup semi-final clash against a wounded Chelsea side, who crashed out of the Champions League on Tuesday night.
For Palace, this is a massive opportunity to try and get to the final of a major competition and push the Patrick Vieira project further ahead.
Eagles fans are looking forward to the trip and hoping for a performance that will see them go past the European Champions, and set up a date with Man City or Liverpool at the big dance.
Left-back Tyrick Mitchell had to be withdrawn against Leicester, after feeling some pain, while young winger Michael Olise is still batting with a foot injury he picked up while on international duty with the France U21 team.
LondonWorld goes behind the scenes to look at some of the players who are pushing for a slot but could ultimately end up being disappointed.
Vicente Guaita or Jack Butland
The first big call is whether to stick with Butland, as has been the case throughout the FA Cup run, or call on Guaita who is the club’s first choice in the league.
Both ‘keepers have been pushing each other throughout the season and Vieira has said he doesn’t like to get involved in talks of who is the number one, but he will have to make a big call.
Butland and Guaita would both like to experience playing at Wembley as Palace don’t get there as often as their wealthy opponents Chelsea.
But we think Vieira will stick with Butland in post which will break the heart of Guaita.
A tough call given how they have both played this season, but in the spirit of fairness we think the Palace boss goes with his cup ‘keeper Butland for this one.
Joel Ward or Nathaniel Clyne
This is another important call Patrick Vieira will have to make, because Joel Ward is back from the injury that gave the opening to Nathaniel Clyne to become a mainstay in the Palace set-up.
Before the injury, Ward was flying and had established himself as one of the first names on the team sheet, using his experience and technique to help Palace out of tricky situations.
But Clyne came in and held down the position, making it incredibly hard for Ward to get minutes.
This is the kind of competition that every manager loves to have, but one of them will have to settle for a place on the bench and we think it will be Ward.
Clyne gets the nod from his consistency of starts and benefits from a good run of games throughout the team’s recent success.
Benteke or Mateta
This perhaps is the most straightforward call the manager will have to make, given how well Mateta has been playing recently.
Since the turn of the year, the young French forward has been brilliant and has been by far the best performing striker at the club with his goals, hold-up play and ability to bring others into the game.
What Benteke has though is experience and a big game presence, which would certainly be playing on Vieira’s mind.
It feels like a long time ago that Benteke was leading the line, but it’s all changed and he could be watching the entire semi-final from the bench.
Just like most Palace fans at the moment, the obvious call has to be Mateta starting which will hurt Benteke, but he’s experienced enough to know that if he keeps fighting then he could get back into the team.