“You may not have seen any goals yet but I have,” says J.R. “That’s because I’m watching Hull v Leeds. Not only did I see a goal but I saw Luke Ayling do the Kevin Nolan chicken dance. Here in the U.S., ESPN shows several games a week from the non-VAR leagues. I was looking at the schedule for tomorrow and at 5:55 AM they have listed ‘Coventry Town v Sunderland’. Oh, ESPN! At least they’re trying, I guess.”
Half time: Brighton 0-0 Palace
Peep peep! Both sides missed good chances in a fairly scruffy half, the most notable event of which was Wilfried Zaha’s run-in with the Brighton substitite Ezequiel Schelotto. The first half started in sunshine; it has ended amid a hailstorm. See you in 15 minutes for more weather news.
45 min Lovely play from Benteke, who dances past a couple of players on the left side of the box and cracks a shot that is very well blocked by Webster. McCarthy’s deep corner is met by Cahill, whose heads hit the back of Burn.
43 min March shoots straight at Guaita from long range.
39 min While Webster is treated, the substitute Schelotto starts sledging Zaha, who asks the referee what’s what. When the corner is taken, Gary Cahill’s downward header at the far post bounces just over the bar. At first it looked like a bad miss – he was only six yards out – but he had to clamber over a defender to get to the ball, which is why his header went straight into the ground.
36 min Zaha goes on a weaving run and hits a shot that is blocked. Just before that, Webster jumped into Benteke’s elbow, prompting a VAR review. Benteke is cleared by VAR. I don’t think he did much wrong there, even though Webster is now being treated for a burst mooth.
35 min: March misses a great chance! It was a lovely move from Brighton. Maupay received a pass on the halfway line, turned and played a fine angled pass to Trossard on the left. He flicked a beautiful low cross with the outside of the right foot to find the unmarked March at the far post, but he pulled his first-time shot into the side netting. He should have scored.
33 min March cuts infield from the right and hits a low shot that is comfortably saved at the near post by the sprawling Guaita.
32 min Brighton continue to dominate possession, but it’s all a little slow and sterile. The pitch doesn’t help.
30 min Schelotto kicked the ball at Zaha, that’s why he was booked. Zaha spat in the general direction of the Brighton subs, though the replays don’t show how close they were. Presumably not very close, or he’d have been in trouble. His body language was fairly provocative, mind you.
29 min Zaha is booed as he goes on a long, winding run down the left. Propper dispossesses him to great cheers.
27 min Hello! Zaha is getting involved with one of the Brighton substitutes, Schelotto. I’m not sure what happened there, although replays showed Zaha spitting and putting his hands to his ears in front of the Brighton fans. Schelotto is booked, Zaha is not.
23 min Another Mooy corner leads to a bit of a scramble in the Palace six-yard box. Eventually Dunk’s looping header – which I’m pretty sure was going just wide anyway – is headed clear by the leaping van Aanholt.
21 min This is a much better spell for Brighton, who have Palace pinned back in their half.
19 min Mooy’s corner from the left leads to a scramble in the six-yard box, with Guaita eventually flapping the ball away from the stretching Dunk. Moments later, March’s driven cross-shot is comfortably held by the diving Guaita.
18 min Brighton win their first corner. March’s inswinger from the right is nutted away at the near post by Benteke. Brighton win the ball back through Montoya, whose tackle on the halfway line turns into a good pass to Maupay on the left of the area. He sidefoots a disguised shot to the near post, where Guaita gets down to palm the ball away.
14 min There are a few nerves around the ground, and Palace look the more relaxed, purposeful side.
12 min Brighton have have two thirds of the possession so far; Palace have had three thirds of the chances.
10 min: Another chance for Palace! Cahill’s angled free-kick from the halfway line was won in the air emphatically by Benteke on the edge of the area. He headed it down to Kouyate, whose close-range poke was blocked by Ryan.
9 min Zaha has his first run at Burn, who does well to stay with him and make an important interception.
7 min There have been a few strong tackles in midfield, from Brighton in particular, though nothing excessive. Yet.
4 min: Benteke misses an excellent chance! McArthur moves confidently through midfield and clips a fine pass over the top. Benteke gets behind the defence, watches the ball all the way … and then shins it miles wide. The home fans loved that. In his defence, it was an awkward ball to volley as it came over his shoulder, but that was still a bit of blooper gold.
4 min Maupay has the first shot on goal, a scuffed drive on the turn from just inside the area. It dribbles wide of the near pst.
3 min In fact, the pitch looks terrible by modern standards, really uneven and slow.
2 min You’d expect Brighton to dominate possession, and the match has started that way. The pitch doesn’t look in perfect condition, mind.
1 min Peep peep! We’re underway. Brighton are in blue and white stripes; Palace are wearing their black away strip.
“The police are out in force at the Amex today, mostly standing around and blocking routes as we all try to get to the stadium,” writes my colleague Steph Fincham. “You might remember they claimed to find knives and knuckledusters on Palace fans a couple of years ago, though later admitted they were lying. Anyway, the sun is shining.”
I love unlikely rivalries. Gillingham v Swindon was all we ever used to talk about at school.
‘A display of uncontrolled manic aggression’
This, from Simon Burnton, is a cracking read on the origins of the Brighton/Palace rivalry.
The return fixture at Selhurst Park, just before Christmas, ended 1-1. Wilfried Zaha was on one that night, as he often is against Brighton.
Brighton (4-2-3-1) Ryan; Montoya, Dunk, Webster, Burn; Propper, Bissouma; Trossard, Mooy, March; Maupay.
Substitutes: Button, Schelotto, Stephens, Gross, Jahanbakhsh, Murray, Alzate.
Crystal Palace (4-1-4-1) Guaita; Ward, Dann, Cahill, van Aanholt; McCarthy; Ayew, Kouyate, McArthur, Zaha; Benteke.
Substitutes: Hennessey, Kelly, Milivojevic, Meyer, Townsend, Riedewald, Tosun.
Referee Martin Atkinson.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of Brighton v Crystal Palace from the Amex Stadium. These two have developed an unlikely rivalry in the last 44 years, one fuelled fuelled by boiling coffee, loose change, loose talk and even looser bowels (it was the coach driver, by the way).
A fixture that was dormant for a long time has been revived in the last decade by Brighton’s improvement. There was the in/famous Championship play-off semi-final of 2013, won by Palace. Brighton were eventually promoted to the Premier League four years later, which has meant regular top-flight meetings between the teams for the first time since Crystal Palace’s Team of the Eighties were relegated in 1981. (By the way, if you haven’t seen the BT Sport documentary on that team, it’s massively enjoyable.)
This year it’s Brighton who are worried about relegation. Although they have done many good things under the impressive Graham Potter, they haven’t won a game this year and are only four points off the bottom three. They need points now, because six of their next seven games are against the Premier League elite. (We’re including Wolves and Arsenal in that, though you may disagree, and that’s just fine.)
Palace should be okay. No Premier League side has scored fewer goals this season, but their outstanding defence – easily the best in the bottom half of the table – has kept them out of trouble until now. Their win over Newcastle last weekend ended a long winless run and moved them nine points clear of the bottom three. Don’t be surprised if it kicks off a bit later as well.
Kick off is at 12.30pm.