Crystal Palace 1-1 Brighton: 4 Things We Learned From Selhurst Park

Crystal Palace 1-1 Brighton: 4 Things We Learned From Selhurst Park

The latest instalment of the Crystal Palace vs Brighton & Hove Albion rivalry saw the Eagles and the Seagulls share a 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park, in a game which featured plenty of talking points.

Brighton dominated the possession count and the shot stats yet had to rely on a 90th-minute equaliser from substitute Alexis Mac Allister to get them out of jail. Palace meanwhile failed to muster a single shot from open play, leaving even the most ardent of Eagles fans to conclude that they barely deserved the point they ended up with.

In keeping with one of the fiercest clashes in the country, there were plenty of flash points, inlcuding a controversial penalty and a ridiculous red card for Brighton captain Lewis Dunk.

Here are four things which we learned from Palace 1-1 Brighton.

Wilfried Zaha
Wilfried Zaha scored with Crystal Palace’s only shot against Brighton in the 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park – a goal which came from the penalty spot 

Roy Hodgson has always been a conservative manager, which is a big part of the reason why Crystal Palace have rarely been threatened by relegation during his three seasons at the helm so far.

Yet, his Eagles side broke new ground against Brighton when they mustered just one shot in nearly 100 minutes of football – and that came from a hugely contentious penalty.

Whether Palace’s lack of attacking intent was down to the way that Hogdson set them up or because Brighton were just that much better, to rely on a referee handing you a penalty for your only attempt on goal against your bitter rivals is not really good enough.

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If Palace fans were allowed in stadiums and paying to watch such dirge, then chances are the pressure on Hodgson would be ramping up. He needs to find a way to make them more entertaining.

Gary Cahill, Lewis Dunk
Lewis Dunk was sent off in Brighton’s Premier League game against Crystal Palace for a horror lunge on Gary Cahill 

You can talk about VAR, technology and referees until you are blue in the face, but what Crystal Palace and Brighton’s 1-1 draw highlighted was that the real problem with Premier League officiating comes from the lack of consistency.

Take Palace’s controversial penalty for example. Michy Batshuayi feels the slightest hand on him from Tariq Lamptey, throws himself to the ground and Stuart Attwell decides that is reason enough to award a spot kick.

From that moment on, Attwell set his stall out that any contact in the box, however minimal, meant that a penalty had to be given. By that standard, Aaron Connolly’s theatrical attempts to win Brighton their own spot kick in the second half should have resulted in a Seagulls penalty as although Connolly dived like Tom Daley, there was still contact.

Then there was Dunk’s horror challenge on Gary Cahill in the final few minutes. It was worthy of a red card and the three game ban that comes with it – as Graham Potter eluded to when refusing to defend his captain afterwards.

The way Dunk recklessly dives in, two feet in the air, was eerily similar to Jordan Pickford’s challenge on Virgil van Dijk in the Merseyside Derby 24 hours earlier. Yet Pickford somehow got away with remaining on the pitch. The Premier League needs to do something about the glaring lack of consistency across the division.

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Alexis Mac Allister
It took until the 90th minute for Brighton to make their dominance at Crystal Palace count when Alexis Mac Allister scored a late equaliser 

Brighton had 66% possession against Crystal Palace and yet for however well they kept the ball, they did very little with it in the final third. The Seagulls managed only three shots on target all afternoon and it took substitute Mac Allister’s 90th-minute equaliser to rescue a point at Selhurst Park.

Mac Allister’s goal came from one of the few occasions that a player in yellow was brave enough to shoot from a distance exceeding 15 yards. At times, it looks like Potter has instructed his side to try and score the perfect goal, a la Arsenal under Arsene Wenger, playing pass after pass after pass when they really need to get a shot away.

Compounding the problem was the fact that when they did shoot at Selhurst, Brighton’s finishing was poor. The Seagulls had 20 efforts but 17 were off target. If you cannot work the opposition goalkeeper, then you will not score goals. And if you don’t score goals, you are always going to be looking over your shoulder.

Danny Welbeck
Danny Welbeck has signed a one year contract with Brighton following his release from Watford 

Which is why the signing of Danny Welbeck looks like such a shrewd piece of transfer business for Brighton. If they can get Welbeck fit – and he featured in all nine of Watford’s Premier League matches post-lockdown – then Potter suddenly has a proven top flight goal scorer in his squad to ease the burden on Neal Maupay and Connolly.

Maupay has generally been in good nick so far in 2020/21 and has four goals from five games to his name. He does though seem to miss a high proportion of chances which come his way, including two against Palace which he really should have buried.

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Had it been Welbeck on the end of Leandro Trossard’s low second half cross, would the move have ended with something better than a weak effort which trickled towards Vicente Guaita? What if it were Welbeck latching onto Adam Lallana’s delicious through ball? He surely would not have cut back and tried to beat a chasing defender when there was only Guaita to beat.

The possession football that Brighton play and the opportunities they create should have Welbeck licking his lips. Dat Guy Welbz could be that man to take the Seagulls onto the next level.

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