Amex Stadium will be the venue for the second M23 derby in just over a month, when Brighton & Hove Albion and Crystal Palace meet on Wednesday.

Brighton & Hove Albion have played the fewest games in the Premier League and will cash in on one of their two games in hand when they host struggling Crystal Palace on Wednesday. The Seagulls sit just three points behind Liverpool in the race for the European places, while the Eagles remain in the thick of the relegation scrap due to a poor winless run in recent months.

Brighton are flying high this season. But instead of slowing down, they have turned on the afterburners following the departure of Graham Potter and the arrival of the fearless Roberto De Zerbi. Heading into the game against Crystal Palace, Brighton have 39 points. However, the result on the weekend left a dent in their hopes for European football next season.

The Seagulls were twice ahead on Saturday but had to settle for a 2-2 draw against Leeds, which meant they are unbeaten in their last three matches in all competitions. They have also won three of their last four Premier League matches at the Amex Stadium and will fancy their chances to get all three points this midweek.

On the other hand, Crystal Palace have not won a game since December and have failed to find the back of the net in each of their last three league matches. The Eagles are 12th on the table, only four points more than 18th-placed and West Ham United. Without a win in the last 11 matches, they must overturn their poor form sooner rather than later, or else they could be in real danger.

They did give Manchester City a good game last time out and defended well for the majority of the game. But the reigning English champions scored from the penalty spot late in the second half to earn all three points. So Patrick Vieira’s side suffered yet another defeat.

The two sides played out a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture at Selhurst Park earlier this season, with James Tomkins scoring the goal for the Eagles and Solly March equalising for the Seagulls. But, given their widely differing predicaments in the top-flight standings, a point would do neither team any good this time around, and both will be looking for all three points at the Amex Stadium.

Team News & Tactics

Brighton & Hove Albion

Brighton are without Jakub Moder (knee) and Adam Lallana (muscle) due to long-term injuries. Meanwhile, Tariq Lamptey faces a late fitness test after missing out on the weekend against Leeds due to a knock picked up in the West Ham game.

On the flip side, Levi Colwill and Yasin Ayari have recovered from their respective injuries to return to the fold last weekend and will be available for selection against Crystal Palace. But the duo will unlikely be risked here.

Robert Sanchez was Brighton’s first-choice goalkeeper in the early days under De Zerbi. But the in-demand manager has preferred Jason Steele to start in goal, and the English veteran will start against Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

A back four of Joel Veltman, Lewis Dunk, Adam Webster, and Pervis Estupinan is expected ahead of Steele, with the Ecuadorian full-back offering width with his bombarding forward runs.

Moises Caicedo has been playing a bit deeper than usual in midfield since the World Cup. And he will be key from Brighton’s perspective in setting the tempo of the game. Pascal Gross will provide invention and energy to the Seagulls’ midfield.

World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister has been in great form in the advanced midfielder role since returning from Qatar and is now the club’s joint-top goalscorer this season with seven Premier League goals after scoring the opener against Leeds.

Star boy Kaoru Mitoma and Solly March will start in wide areas against the Eagles. They will look to combine well in the final third and create problems for the opposition’s backline. Young Evan Ferguson will continue to lead the line for Brighton.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Steele; Veltman, Dunk, Webster, Estupinan; Caicedo, Gross; March, Mac Allister, Mitoma; Ferguson

Crystal Palace

Nathan Ferguson and Sam Johnstone are still out with their respective injuries. Will Hughes missed out against Manchester City due to illness, so he will have to be evaluated late before this game. In a big boost, key midfielder Cheick Doucoure can return after his suspension to start for Patrick Vieira’s side.

Vicente Guaita remains the mainstay for Crystal Palace between the sticks. Nathaniel Clyne and Tyrick Mitchell have cemented their places in the full-back positions. But the competition in that area of the pitch has been non-existent. Meanwhile, Joachim Andersen and Marc Guehi will continue to form the central defensive partnership for Palace.

Up ahead in midfield, Doucoure will come back into contention, with Albert Sambi Lokonga and Jeffrey Schlupp featuring alongside him. Palace’s attack has not been scoring much in recent times, and they have not fired a shot on target in over five hours of Premier League action, having been shut out by Liverpool, Aston Villa, and Manchester City.

Wilfried Zaha has returned for the last two games, and he us long overdue a goal after a prolific first half of the season. Jordan Ayew and Odsonne Edouard will try to reignite the spark in the dire attack alongside the Palace talisman. Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise could also present exciting options for Patrick Vieira to call upon in the later stages of the game.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Guaita; Clyne, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell; Lokonga, Doucoure, Schlupp; Ayew, Edouard, Zaha

Key Stats

  • Crystal Palace hold the upper hand over Brighton in recent clashes and are unbeaten in seven. But they have won just two of those, with the last three meetings between the two ending in stalemates.
  • Crystal Palace have failed to score in their last three Premier League matches.
  • Patrick Vieira’s side are in a rut at the moment, having yet to win their first game since the turn of the year in 11 Premier League assignments.
  • Brighton have won four of their last five matches at Amex Stadium, conceding only two goals during that stretch.
  • Crystal Palace have three losses in four away matches.

Player to Watch

Kaoru Mitoma

Embed from Getty Images

Mitoma made a steady start to life in the top flight but was limited to bright cameos off the bench under Graham Potter. The fleet-footed Japanese winger has been properly unleashed by Roberto De Zerbi. He has been in sensational form since then, racking up eight goals and five assists in 20 competitive appearances under the Italian tactician.

He is the hub of creativity and the end product for the Seagulls’ attack, and he only performs well-calculated dribbles. Mitoma has the quality to take the game by the scruff of the neck. And that is just what Brighton are going to need to come away with all three points when they host Crystal Palace, who have opted for defensive compactness against top sides this season.


Brighton & Hove Albion 1-0 Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace have not lost the derby against Brighton & Hove Albion in the last seven meetings (W2 D5). So they will want to maintain their unbeaten streak on Wednesday. But the visitors are in really poor form heading into this tie.

Brighton are doing well, especially at home. And this is a game they should prevail in to boost their European quest. However, the clash on Wednesday night could well be yet another closely-contested derby affair. The Hard Tackle predicts Brighton to eke out a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

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