Crystal Palace welcome Brighton & Hove Albion to Selhurst Park in a mouth-watering A23 derby on Super Sunday.
Depending on results earlier in weekend, Palace could climb as high as fifth with victory whilst Brighton could leapfrog their hosts and potentially improve to 11th at maximum.
Gary Cahill and James Tomkins are set to be available for Palace after recovering from respective hamstring and thigh injuries which have kept the defensive duo out in recent months.
Both players will however be subject to late fitness tests alongside; Patrick van Anholt (shoulder), Wilfried Zaha (groin) and Jeffrey Schlupp (strain) as Michy Batshuayi prepares to return after being ineligible to face Chelsea last time out, having joined Palace on loan from the Blues.
James McCarthy has returned from international duty with a muscular injury and is sidelined alongside; Scott Dann (muscular), Nathan Ferguson (knee), Wayne Hennessey and Connor Wickham (both unspecified).
Brighton could welcome Davy Proper back from an Achilles injury plus Tariq Lampety who was subbed in their 4-2 defeat at Everton with a hamstring injury two weeks ago.
Aaron Connolly (knock) is also expected to feature but Florian Andone (knee), Alireza Jahanbakhsh (hamstring), Jose Izquierdo (fitness) and Christian Walton (ankle) remain absent.
- Crystal Palace are unbeaten in three of last five league meetings against Brighton (W2, D1, L2).
- Brighton have won just one of their last five trips to Selhurst Park in all competitions (W1, D2, L2).
- Just one of last six goals in this fixture has been scored in the first-half, courtesy of Brighton’s Glenn Murray who netted in 19th minute in a 2-1 away win for the Seagulls in March 2019.
- Both teams have scored in five of last six meetings in all competitions since contesting a goalless draw at the Amex in November 2017, with the only recent match to not feature both teams scoring coming via Jordan Ayew’s 70th minute winner for Palace in a tight encounter back in February.
- Coming into this weekend, Brighton’s Neal Maupay is the highest-scoring French player this season with four goals.
Both teams have encountered tricks starts against tough opposition with defeats in last two outings so this is essentially like a new slate in terms of being the second consecutive runs of four matches before another international break, with both teams facing relatively easier opposition in coming weeks.
Palace were unusually lacklustre at Chelsea with no real proper fighting spirit which is often aplenty within this team despite often having an injury crisis which has to improve here, especially given Brighton’s improved attacking performances even if defending is still messy like those of many clubs at present.
We should therefore be in for a good match between two solid teams but if Palace don’t have Zaha available then I fancy Brighton to dig deep and cause serious issues for the Eagles’ defence via the flanks, which could well be key to the result come full-time.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-2 Brighton
Result: Crystal Palace 1-1 Brighton