Friday 07 Dec
Updated Friday 07 Dec 12:29
Interviews

Issa Diop relishing Wilfried Zaha battle

Issa Diop

 

Issa Diop is relishing the prospect of trying to stop Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha at London Stadium on Saturday.

The Hammers are brimming with confidence as they prepare to welcome the Eagles to east London, having scored back-to-back Premier League wins for the first time in 22 months this week.

And while Palace themselves arrive on a run of one win in ten top-flight matches, the presence of outstanding Ivory Coast forward Zaha in their ranks means they will always carry a threat.

The 26-year-old has scored just once in eight career appearances against West Ham, though, and Diop is planning to extend that record to one in nine when the pair go head-to-head this weekend.

Zaha is very quick, strong and has good skills, but I hope we can stop him

Issa Diop

“Zaha is a very good player,” he observed. “He is very quick, strong and has good skills, but I hope we can stop him.

“Palace is a different game from Cardiff, because they have very different players who like to run with the ball, like Zaha and Andros Townsend, so we need to work on how to stop them, to stop Crystal Palace and how to win this game.

“As a squad, we are very happy with our two wins in the space of a few days but now we are focused on Crystal Palace. We are more confident, of course, because we won those two games, but we need to stay at the same level for this weekend against Palace and I hope that we win.

“It’s very good to win back-to-back so we are very happy, and I hope we keep going like this, this weekend.”

 

Issa Diop celebrates scoring at AFC Wimbledon
Issa Diop celebrates scoring at AFC Wimbledon back in August

 

While Diop’s main aim is to stop Zaha and company, nobody would be surprised if the France U21 international popped up in the attacking third again on Saturday.

Against both Newcastle and Crystal Palace, the No23 embarked on ambitious runs forward that ended in the opposition penalty area.

As yet, his teammates have ignored him, perhaps forgetting the outstanding goal he netted in the Carabao Cup win at AFC Wimbledon back in August, but he is hoping to get on the end of a through ball and score his first Premier League goal for the club!

“I hope to do my best for the team and it’s only in the right moment that I do this!” he smiled. “I hope for the next game I can do it again and maybe get a goal!”