Sports Mole previews Sunday’s Premier League fixture between Crystal Palace and Brighton & Hove Albion, including team news and predicted lineups.
Crystal Palace and Brighton & Hove Albion meet at Selhurst Park on Sunday afternoon having both lost their last two fixtures in the Premier League.
The home side head into the encounter sitting in 12th position, while the visitors are down in 15th after claiming just one win from a tough opening to the campaign.
Crystal Palace were the surprise team during the early weeks of the season, recording impressive wins over Southampton and Manchester United to sit among the early pacesetters.
However, setbacks against Everton and Chelsea have resulted in the Eagles dropping down to 12th spot, leaving them looking over their shoulders to the teams below them.
Three of the six goals which they have conceded in their last two outings have come from the penalty spot, but Roy Hodgson‘s side have been unable to offer a sustained threat in the final third to respond to those incidents.
Although Palace have made some astute additions in the transfer window, there is no getting away from the fact that they have been heavily reliant on goals from Wilfried Zaha during the early weeks.
Hodgson must decide when the time is right to unleash Chelsea loanee Michy Batshuayi, who has been given just 25 minutes of action since his return to the club.
Opponents Brighton have received plaudits for their performances this season, particularly in fixtures against some of the stronger teams in the division.
Nevertheless, defeats against Chelsea, Manchester United and Everton have left Graham Potter‘s side down in 15th with 10 goals being conceded in those three games.
Having strengthened his backline over the summer, Potter will be desperately disappointed with the lack of resilience in the defensive third, and it is something which needs to improve if Brighton are to continue their development.
West Bromwich Albion are to follow next weekend in a game which Potter will regard as a must win, but failure to post at least four points from the upcoming double-header will only up the stakes ahead of the trip to Tottenham Hotspur.
Crystal Palace Premier League form: WWLL
Crystal Palace form (all competitions): WDWLL
Brighton & Hove Albion Premier League form: LWLL
Brighton & Hove Albion form (all competitions): WWWLLL
Palace could hand a start to Gary Cahill, who has been absent since suffering a hamstring injury at the back end of last season.
Batshuayi is expected to take the place of Jordan Ayew in attack, while Nathaniel Clyne is in line to feature on the substitutes’ bench after joining on a free transfer.
Potter will give Tariq Lamptey as long as possible to prove his fitness after returning to training after a hamstring injury.
Despite sustaining a knock while representing Republic of Ireland, Aaron Connolly should recover in time to feature in the final third.
Adam Lallana is an alternative if the youngster drops down to the substitutes’ bench.
Crystal Palace possible starting lineup:
Guaita; Ward, Cahill, Sakho, Mitchell; Townsend, McCarthy, Kouyate, Eze; Zaha, Batshuayi
Brighton & Hove Albion possible starting lineup:
Ryan; White, Dunk, Webster; Lamptey, Bissouma, Alzate, March; Trossard, Connolly, Maupay
We say: Crystal Palace 1-1 Brighton & Hove Albion
Despite their respective defensive records, we are not expecting many goals at Selhurst Park this weekend. Although both teams will acknowledge that this is a winnable fixture, do not be surprised if they cancel each other out in a game lacking action in the final third.
Top betting tip
Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:data
Watch the Sports Mole Football Shorts prediction for this game below:
— to www.sportsmole.co.uk