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March 22 2019 4.34am

Key clashes: Palace v Brighton

March 7 2019

Luka Milivojevic

Luka Milivojevic

Hunter Young previews the player battles ahead of a huge rivalry weekend as Crystal Palace host Brighton & Hove Albion.

This is the game that Palace fans have had circled on their calendar all year, Brighton at home. The Eagles and their fans will be hungry for vengeance after December’s disastrous trip to the south coast in which they were defeated 3-1, despite them playing much of the game a man down.

The Eagles enter this game on strong form, while the Seagulls are going in the opposite direction with last week’s victory of basement dwellers Huddersfield Town being their only win of 2019. Even with all that taken in to account, when it comes to derby games, everything is liable to go out the window.

Luka Milivojevic v Dale Stephens

Despite not producing many statistics, Dale Stephens is key to the functionality of the Brighton midfield. The Englishman as only missed a few games this season and has helped shield the Brighton defence from opposing attacks. The midfielder has also been a long-time adversary of the Eagles having joined the Seagulls prior to the 2013-14 season.

Luka Milivojevic has proven himself quite the iron man this season having played every minute for Palace in the Premier League. The Serbian captain is key to this team both in terms of his play and leadership and will surely be up for whatever challenge Brighton offer. Additionally, if there was to be a game in which Milivojevic was likely to need to step up and take a penalty, the smart money would be on this one, and his sterling record from the spot suggests he won’t let the team down if called upon.

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James Tomkins v Glenn Murray

Glenn Murray continues to prove countless doubters wrong by continuing to be an effective Premier League striker at age 35. The veteran has only missed one top flight match this season while chipping in 12 goals in all competitions. Should Brighton manage to avoid the drop this season Murray will have been their savior with his goal total doubling that of their second leading scorer, centre-back Shane Duffy. Murray has also scored in his last three matches against Palace, whith two of them leading to defeat for the Eagles.

While it remains to be seen who the centre-back partnership will be to face Brighton, James Tomkins’ inclusion is all but certain. Regardless of whether it is Scott Dann or Martin Kelly who fills in for the injured Mamadou Sakho Tomkins can be counted on for a solid performance and to serve as the leader of the defence.

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Wilfried Zaha v Shane Duffy

Shane Duffy by not have been at the club as long as his counterpart Lewis Dunk, but he has potentially equalled if not surpassed him in the amount of disdain he receives from Palace fans. The Irishman was sent off last time the clubs played for a dead-ball headbutt and is known as an aggressive, if not dirty player. The defender is also an aerial threat as evidenced by his five goals and league lead in headed clearances.

No players on the pitch for Palace will be more motivated for a good result than Wilfried Zaha. As a product of the Academy, he has been raised to hate Brighton and loves to score in the big moments against a team that is among the most abusive to the Palace talisman. Zaha has also been on great form recently and will be determined to add to his goal tally this weekend and stake his claim as the teams sole leading goal scorer.

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Are you backing Palace to come out victorious in this derby clash? Check out the best betting sites to find out the best offers.

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