Brighton & Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace preview: Bragging rights and points needed for both sides
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Brighton & Hove Albion host rivals Crystal Palace in arguably the biggest game of the Premier League this weekend. Both teams come into this fixture off the back of favourable results, with Brighton getting a hard-earned point at high flying Sheffield United

Palace, on the other hand, will be full of confidence, after picking up their first three points of the new decade at home to a mediocre Newcastle United side.

Brighton sitting two places below Palace in the table will be hoping for all three points on Saturday to take a step closer towards Premier League safety.

It has been a somewhat bittersweet Season for the Seagulls, with manager Graham Potter brought in from Swansea City in attempts to avoid the relegation scrap the side endured last season under Chris Hughton.

 However, Albion sit only four points above the drop zone looking over their shoulders nervously heading into the business end of the season and are yet to win a game in 2020.

Nevertheless, the South Coast side have had their plaudits this season from the footballing world, with many impressed with the style of football Potter's team have been producing.  

For Palace, they will be looking to build on their best point return at this stage of the season since the Club's return to the Premier League in 2013.

In spite of that the Eagles have not won a Premier League away game since a 2-0 win over Burnley in late November. 

The Palace faithful will be hoping the team can right wrongs from previous seasons since the South London side have failed to beat their arch enemy Brighton in almost two years. Palace have also not won at The Amex since 2013, but that was the playoff Semi-Final. 

Team News.

Palace welcome back skipper Luka Milivojevic after missing the victory against Newcastle last week, due to a sickness that went around the camp.

James Tomkins picked up a knock against Everton and is not expected back for a few more weeks. Cheikhou Kouyate was subbed late on last week after picking up a small knock, yet is expected to be fit this weekend.

Long term injuries Jeffrey Schlupp and Mamadou Sakho have returned to full training this week, having said that the Brighton game might have come too soon for the pair to feature this weekend. 

For Albion, Dale Stephens is fit after missing two games through a thigh injury. The only absentee for the Seagulls is long term injury Jose Izquierdo, who is yet to feature this season due to a knee problem.

January signing Tariq Lamptey could make his first appearance in a Brighton shirt, after arriving from Chelsea on transfer deadline day in January.

Another new face could be Argentina international Alexis Mac Allister. He signed for the Club in 2019 but Brighton had to secure a work permit for the player, so he had been on loan at Boca Juniors.

Over the winter window, the Seagulls finally secured the much-needed documentation for the player, and he is in line to make an impact of some sort in the baptism of fire that is the Brighton vs Palace rivalry.       

Last meeting.

The last fixture in December between these two teams saw a 1-1 draw played out at Selhurst Park.

Brighton really controlled the game in the last outing. Palace struggled with Davy Propper's movement in midfield, as he unlocked the Eagles' defence on numerous occasions. Brighton probably should have gone in at half time with a comfortable lead.

The Seagulls came out in the second half with the same intensity from the first, and their hard work paid off on the 54th minute when summer signing Neal Maupay converted in front of the travelling Brighton faithful, giving Albion the well-deserved lead.

This was the catalyst to kick Palace into life, with Palace peppering the Brighton goalmouth for the remainder of the match. 

A dominant Brighton performance was cancelled out by a moment of genius from Wilfried Zaha, with his superb strike late on in the game making it 1-1 to rescue a point for the Eagles. 

From The Dugout.

Graham Potter has asked for the fans to back the team straight from the off this weekend, he said " My message to the fans is to enjoy the game and get behind the team in the right way...They can help us get three points and we know what it means to them."

Roy Hodgson took a similar approach saying," I enjoy the rivalry with Brighton. It's a special one for the fans, and we're very much aware of that as a club."

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