Brighton & Hove Albion and Crystal Palace will lock horns at the Amex Stadium on Friday night on Matchday 22 of the 2021/22 Premier League.
It has been an impressive season so far from Brighton, who sit in the ninth spot after 19 matches. Despite facing the ire of their supporters at times owing to their inability to score goals consistently, leading to many drawn matches, the Seagulls have still managed to amass 27 points so far. Only Manchester City, Liverpool, and Chelsea have lost fewer games than Graham Potter’s side (4) this term.
It’s an amazing run, considering they could only manage a 16th placed finish last season. They have shown an upturn in their form of late, picking up seven points in their last three matches courtesy of wins over Brentford and Everton while salvaging a late draw away from home to Chelsea. Beating West Brom in their FA Cup third-round clash also saw them progress in the competition.
But now the attention will be back on the Premier League as they clash with Crystal Palace, in the M23 derby. The Eagles are poised to battle their opponent in what promises to be a quality mid-table clash. Patrick Vieira’s men come into this game on a dreadful run of form, although their FA Cup victory over Millwall will have given them a confidence boost
Crystal Palace have lost two of their last three games in the league, with the latest coming from a harsh defeat at home to Champions League hopefuls West Ham United. Owing to their good form earlier in the season, they have amassed 23 points so far, which sees them occupy 12th place on the table.
Palace have shown a lot of progress under Patrick Vieira, but they need to win these mid-table clashes to fulfil their ambitions of finishing in the top half of the standings. They will certainly be hoping to replicate the result at the Amex Stadium from last season when they collected all three points.
Team News & Tactics
Brighton & Hove Albion
There are quite a few potential notable absentees from the Brighton squad for this clash. While key midfielder Yves Bissouma is away on AFCON duty, the Seagulls will also be missing Jeremy Sarmiento for their Friday night game. Lewis Dunk is also set to be unavailable for selection for the hosts.
Enock Mwepu, who was taken off with a hamstring issue in the last game, is also sidelined for a few weeks, leaving Graham Potter with some major selection decisions to be made.
The in-form Alexis Mac Allister is set to reclaim his spot in the lineup, while Leandro Trossard and Neal Maupay are expected to take up positions in the front two. Potter will continue to deploy a back three with Dan Burn, Shane Duffy, and Joel Veltman forming the defensive line guarding Robert Sanchez.
Marc Cucurella and Tariq Lamptey are primed to take up the wing-back roles on either flank, with Adam Lallana, Jakub Moder and Mac Allister expected to form the midfield trio.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Sanchez; Veltman, Duffy, Burn; Lamptey, Mac Allister, Moder, Lallana, Cucurella; Trossard, Maupay
Patrick Vieira has his own share of AFCON absentees as Wilfried Zaha, Cheikhou Kouyate and Jordan Ayew all remain unavailable due to the continental tournament. As a result, a number of players who started against Millwall are expected to hold their places in the lineup.
James McArthur and James Tomkins are out of the clash with injuries, while there are also doubts over the fitness of goalkeeper Vicente Guaita, with Jack Butland likely to take the starting spot between the sticks once more.
A 4-3-3 formation has become the norm under Vieira, who will have a fully fit Conor Gallager among his ranks for this clash. Will Hughes and Jeffrey Schlupp could take the other places, with Eberechi Eze likely to provide cover from the bench.
FA Cup hero Michael Olise should continue his role on the right flank, with Christian Benteke leading the line and Odsonne Edouard taking his position on the left-hand side of the attack.
Vieira will be able to field his main central defenders in this game as Joachim Andersen and Marc Guehi are fit and available for selection. Joel Ward and Tyrick Mitchell ought to keep their places as full-backs for this clash.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Butland; Ward, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell; Gallagher, Hughes, Schlupp; Olise, Benteke, Edouard
- Only Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City have lost fewer Premier League games this term than Brighton.
- Brighton are unbeaten in their last three Premier League games, collecting seven points in that period.
- Crystal Palace have failed to score in their last three away games in the Premier League.
- Crystal Palace have lost their last three away games in the Premier League.
- Crystal Palace are unbeaten in their last five games against Brighton in all competitions.
Player to Watch
The on-loan Chelsea midfielder hasn’t been at his best in the last few games owing to an illness that has been bothering him. Having recovered from the problem and made a return in Palace’s recent FA Cup clash, the midfielder is expected to be fully fit for the Brighton game, and Patrick Vieira will need his services more than ever.
In the absence of key personnel in the creative and attacking department, Gallager will be looked up to deliver the goods in the final third. He will have to step up and become the main man for the London side as they navigate through the period without their AFCON participants.
Brighton 1-1 Crystal Palace
Both sides are in a similar position on the table and should be able to provide an entertaining clash on the pitch wherein they match each other equally. Furthermore, both squads are depleted in equal measures due to AFCON and injuries, making a draw the most likely outcome on Friday night.
There will certainly be chances in the game, and with the quality of players at their disposal, both teams can hurt each other. The likes of Conor Gallagher, Michael Olise, Leandro Trossard and Alexis Mac Allister will have key roles to play, but the outcome will likely see both teams collecting an equal share of the points at the Amex Stadium.