The Brighton rivalry and the role of Odsonne Edouard- Patrick Vieira on Palace's upcoming grudge match
(Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media)

While spectators across England this weekend will cast their attention towards Chelsea vs Manchester City and the North London Derby between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, Monday marks the 105th meeting between Crystal Palace and Brighton.

Little is known by the rest of the country of the magnitude of this fixture, but what is certain is that the friction between the clubs is submerged in a wave of venom and acrimony. 

Although only being a strand of football culture that arose in the 1970s, as two young, ambitious managers battled for bragging rights, it is now a match that is held close to the hearts of both sets of fans. 

Scenes of Terry Venables and Alan Mullery prowling the touchline, the controversy of five penalties in 1989 (A Football League record), the meeting between the two sides in the 2013 Championship playoff semi-final and last season's late Christian Benteke Winner - There are already plenty of memories to reflect upon.

Embed from Getty Images

For many, the Brighton-Crystal Palace rivalry holds little to no substance. After all, the two clubs are separated by 41 miles, whereas The Eagles are surrounded by a selection of neighbours who, from an outside perspective, have more validity in sharing a rivalry with the SE25 club. 

But in preparation for the clash, Patrick Vieira has lamented his knowledge of the gravity of this game, acknowledging that his team must do all that they can to stop high-flying Brighton in their tracks. 

When asked whether he got the sense that the game was one he could not lose, the answer was always simple.

He abruptly responded with a "yes".

"This is the derby, and to be honest, I've learned a lot of how that game is important for every single one in the football club. I watched the documentary that the football club made and I fully understand now the big rivalry between the two clubs. It makes it even more exciting.

"The players are really looking forward to the game and they relish these kinds of occasions. It's really important to not just base the emotional side of the game, we have to control our emotions and be really focused on how we want to play with the determination and the aggressiveness to put into the game to play a complete game."

  • Brighton game is no walk in the park

It could arguably be the toughest test of the new era so far, with the Seagulls sitting comfortably in fourth place before the weekend's round of fixtures.

Being a creative force last season, Graham Potter has now expanded his tactical nous in a way that gets the best results from his finishers, spawning a squad that is to be feared in the inaugural months of the season. 

This has enabled The Seagulls to kick on from their midtable mediocracy, something that Selhurst Park's new manager is trying to push for himself. 

And with the heavy emphasis placed on Brighton's upturn in form this season, Vieira was quick to highlight Neal Maupay, who has scored three Premier League goals this season, as a key figure to their sharp rise in fortune. 

"I believe he is a really clinical number nine," the Frenchman stated.

Embed from Getty Images

"He has a lot of energy upfront and is a really good finisher. But I believe the real strength of this team is the collective game, I think when they have the ball they are really close together, the passing, their movement is really good.

"We expect obviously a tough, challenging game because they are playing at the moment with a lot of confidence."

Patrick Vieira, however, also greeted the media with a bundle of praise towards his own attacking options, namely through the mention of Odsonne Edouard, who is yet to make a start in red and blue. 

After Christian Benteke has shown glimmers of being a valuable asset to Palace this season, without having a goal to show for it, many Eagles' fans have been asking the question of when the new man will get his start.

The good news for the majority is that Vieira has hinted that a start is close, stating that "He is fit, he is ready to start a game."

He continued: "Moving to a different country, the Premier League, he needs time to adapt himself. We will take our time to make him feel comfortable in the club and the way we want to play. He is physically and mentally ready to start the game."

Embed from Getty Images

The Frenchman scored twice in the space of ten minutes on his first outing at Selhurst Park, combining with Palace's creative engines to bury Spurs in a 3-0 triumph. 

It was a performance that impressed, giving the Holmesdale End a wow factor that hasn't been replicated since the free-flowing football that saw Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha crusading the flanks.

"He is a player that needs to needs to adapt himself to the Premier League and the football club, he's working well and that gives me more options upfront about who to select for the games," Vieira explained. 

And a game against Crystal Palace's fiercest rivals could prove the perfect backdrop to Edouard's first start in red and blue under his compatriot new manager. 

Because the former Celtic striker is faster and more agile than Palace's other attacking outlets, Jean-Phillipe Mateta and Christian Benteke, Edouard could be useful in putting pressure on Brighton's ageing central defenders, causing problems to a system that aims to play out from the back.

However, Vieira has not ruled out the possibility of changing his system so that a two-man frontline can be introduced.

On the topic, he said: "It could be two weeks, two months but it gives me options. We can first try it in training to see how it works. That's one of the options we have."