Crystal Palace will be looking to progress to the FA Cup 4th round when they travel to the AMEX Stadium on Monday evening to face their bitter rivals Brighton. This will be the first game to see the new VAR technology in use, however Palace are unlikely to have Ruben Loftus-Cheek for the game.
After the uncertainty earlier in the season, Roy Hodgson’s side come into this game in fine form, having only lost once in four games over the Christmas period – including a 0-0 draw against the league leaders Manchester City.
However, they’ll be forced to travel to the south-coast without the Chelsea loanee Loftus-Cheek who Hodgson has declared he wants to sign. The midfielder currently has a knock and will be battling to be fit against Burnley on Saturday afternoon.
The Seagulls should feel confident going into this game having lost just once since mid-December, gaining three clean sheets in those five games.
Hughton has no fresh selection problems ahead of the clash against the Eagles.
Midfielder Steven Sidwell, who hasn’t featured this season, remains Brighton’s only absentee with a back injury.
Additionally, Hughton has confirmed that he will rotate the squad with Beram Kayal and Connor Goldson, along with out-of-favour midfielder Jiri Skalak.
Crystal Palace’s Yohan Cabaye has been passed fit, but is unlikely to start as Hodgson looks to put out a rotated side. Cabaye was substituted at half-time against Southampton on Tuesday because of fatigue and it may be best not to start the midfielder so that he may gain much needed rest.
Joel Ward (groin), Mamadou Sakho (calf), Connor Wickham, Scott Dann, and Jason Puncheon (all knee) are also absent for this fixture. Jairo Riedewald, Bakary Sako, Patrick Van Aanholt, and Damien Delaney are among the fringe players pushing for a start.
- This will be the third time that these two rams have been drawn together in the FA Cup, with the last tie going to a second replay after the first two games ended goalless in December 1976.
- Brighton have failed to score against Palace in four of their last five meetings, including each of their last three. The Eagles have failed to score in three of their last four against the Seagulls.
- Brighton have progressed to the FA Cup 4th round in seven of their last eight campaigns, falling at the 3rd round in the 2015/16 season against Hull City. Since being eliminated at this stage in three successive seasons (2010/11 – 2012/13), the Eagles have reached the 4th round in each of the last four seasons, including an FA Cup final appearance in 2016.
Last time out, Brighton hosted Crystal Palace in a dull affair that finished 0-0 in the Premier League back in November 2017. Crystal Palace earned their first away points of the season in a game that provided more excitement in the stands than in the pitch.
Wilfried Zaha had the best chance of the game when Christian Benteke was clean through on goal, side-footing the ball straight at Matthew Ryan with Zaha’s rebound saved again by the keeper.
Brighton had a few chances through Lewis Dunk when he headed the ball well wide of the goal. Anthony Knockaert produced a few half-chances without troubling Wayne Hennessey too much in the Palace goal.
The Brighton keeper was outstanding all game and the Australian international did well to keep Palace’s counter attack at bay.
The M23 derby is set to be another feisty encounter so we will expect to see a few tasty tackles as either side will do absolutely anything to win this game. Bragging rights are on the line and this is a difficult game to call.
Hodgson will expect a tough test from an improved Eagles side who are one of the on-form sides in the Premier League. Both sides are likely to feature watered-down squads, but strong enough to beat the another.
Goals will be at a premium in this game and Palace have been scoring a lot recently. Palace have slightly more depth than Brighton and I think that their counter-attack just might be too much to handle for the Brighton defence.
Brighton 1-2 Crystal Palace