Christian Benteke vs Odsonne Edouard: Who should start vs Brighton?
(Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)

Crystal Palace play their most anticipated game of the season tonight as they face Brighton at Selhurst Park.

In what could be described as the most misunderstood rivalry in the top-flight, many neutrals still don't see why these two teams are such fierce rivals.

Wrongly described as the "M23 Derby", the animosity between the clubs actually has nothing to do with the locality.

The origins of this battle stem from games between the clubs in the late 1970s where the Palace team led by Terry Venables were in direct competition with Alan Mullery's Brighton to gain promotion. 

Those specific years fuelled a fire that still burns to this day, with both sets of fans having a strong distaste for one another.

A victory tonight for either side would ensure major bragging rights until they meet again later in the season.

Embed from Getty Images

Benteke vs Edouard: Who should get the start?

The main debate amongst Palace fans in the build-up to this tie is who should lead the line up front. 

Christian Benteke has had his fair share of issues over the years as a Palace player, but the fans have been incredibly loyal to the Belgian through his rough patches. 

After scoring 17 goals in his first season for Palace in 2016, it would take the forward until the 2020 season just gone to notch up double-digit goals again for the Eagles.

A lengthy spell of struggling in front of goal led many to believe his time would be up at Palace.

However, the fans and club alike have stuck by the big number twenty, and even when not scoring, he plays an integral role in the success of the team.

Benteke's hold-up play and aerial ability are up there with the best in the entire division, something that he rarely gets credit for.

Under Roy Hodgson's reign, he spent the majority of his time holding up long balls for others to run off, with very little goalscoring service for himself.

His performances under Patrick Vieira so far have been good, and despite not scoring yet, his physicality has been crucial in freeing up others. 

In terms of the game tonight, Benteke is certainly more experienced of the two options. 

He knows his role and what will be asked of him, and more importantly, he knows exactly what it means to play in this fixture. 

Palace's iconic smash and grab at the Amex last season was also courtesy of a 94th-minute winner from Benteke. 

Embed from Getty Images

Vieira may see the experience of winning this fixture as crucial, which is why many fans believe Benteke is the clear choice to start.

It is willing to bear in mind, however, that Benteke's winner last time out at Brighton was as an impact substitute off the bench. 

The other option for Patrick Vieira is, of course, the new signing of Odsonne Edouard.

French forward Edouard signed for Palace from Celtic in the last days of the summer transfer window. 

His debut was certainly memorable for the Eagles after a brace off the bench in the 3-0 win over Tottenham.

Edouard's first goal was just 27 seconds after coming off the bench, a new Premier League record for the fastest debut goal.

That 15-minute cameo certainly cemented him as a fan favourite, with expectations now perhaps higher than they were before. 

At Anfield last week, the Frenchman again came off the bench for a chunk of the second half; he again looked sharp and was unlucky not to score. 

The question now is that with two comparable strikers in Benteke and Edouard, who should get the nod in arguably the biggest game of the season. 

In terms of the differences between the two players, there are some clear attributes to point out.

For Edouard, he has the pace, footwork, and agility that Benteke maybe lacks. 

The goals against Tottenham highlighted his quick feet and ability to create chances for himself. 

Embed from Getty Images

In some ways, he is reminiscent of a younger Christian Benteke in his Aston Villa days.

Current day Benteke, as discussed, brings a different element to the team, with his hold-up play and physical presence, areas where Edouard may not be as strong.

For Palace fans, it is certainly a nice problem to have when you can't seem to choose between two quality forwards, with the decision ultimately going down to how Vieira's see the game playing out.

If the Palace boss expects a cagey affair with the patience needed, Benteke would be the man.

Alternatively, if Palace want to come fast out of the blocks, the movement of Edouard, alongside Wilfried Zaha, could cause massive problems for Graham Potter's Brighton.

Whoever is chosen to start is sure to give 100% and Edouard would've been pre-warned as to how much this game means to Palace fans.

The Eagles are now reaping the rewards of having good squad depth, and it is something that will massively benefit them over the long Premier League season.

Finally, if Palace players needed any extra motivation for tonight's game, a win for the Seagulls would put them top of the Premier League for the first time in their history.

Vieira and co will be doing anything in their powers to prevent such a travesty for Eagles fans.

Embed from Getty Images

VAVEL Logo