BRIGHTON 0-1 CRYSTAL PALACE
- Goals: None | Jordan Ayew (£5.1m)
- Assists: None | Christian Benteke (£5.7m)
- Bonus Points: Vicente Guaita (£5.1m) x3, Patrick van Aanholt (£5.5m) x2, Ayew x1
Owners of Crystal Palace defenders were the big winners from Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off at the Amex Stadium.
Despite home side Brighton racking up 24 attempts on goal, the Eagles held firm to bank a second consecutive clean sheet.
As alluded to before kick off, Patrick van Aanholt (£5.5m) was one of the players to watch in a clash largely devoid of Fantasy interest.
The Dutch defender followed up his 15-point haul in Gameweek 27 with a very respectable eight-point score.
Van Aanholt trailed only Vicente Guaita (£5.1m) in the Bonus Points System, as the goalkeeper’s eight saves propelled him to an 11-point score.
Jordan Ayew‘s (£5.1m) second-half strike – the forward’s only shot of the match – was only enough for a single bonus point. Despite an excellent reverse pass to set Ayew up, Christian Benteke (£5.7m) is a long way from FPL consideration.
At the other end of the pitch, Palace defenders are back on the radar. Having gone without a clean sheet for 10 Gameweeks, since a 0-0 stalemate away to Watford in Gameweek 16, assets such as van Aanholt and Guaita may pick up owners ahead of a relatively kind four-game run (which could become three if Liverpool advance to the FA Cup sixth round).
The Eagles are also set for key defensive reinforcements, with Roy Hodgson explaining post-match:
“Now, we’re getting players back from injury. James Tomkins (£5.0m) isn’t that far away, Mamadou Sakho (£5.0m) is back in training and available and Jeffrey Schlupp (£5.4m) is back in training and available. We knew we’d have to dig in and fight plenty of battles out there. We had to make certain we got our defending right. We won our challenges, the back four was very solid and we knew the chances would come our way.” – Roy Hodgson
Guaita’s eight saves tell the story of Brighton’s problems in attack, with the Palace stopper not overly tested by any of the Seagulls’ efforts on target.
Neal Maupay (£5.8m) was the guiltiest party in this regard, with the Frenchman racking up half of Brighton’s eight shots on target while never really looking like scoring.
The best of Maupay’s chances came early in the second half when a tangle between substitute Jairo Riedewald (£4.5m) and the heavily-involved Aaron Mooy (£4.8m) saw the striker released behind the Palace back-line.
The ball sat up beautifully but Maupay hammered his volley directly at Guaita’s chest, in a moment that summed up the Seagulls’ struggles in front of goal.
Solly March (£4.6m) wasted the home team’s other stand-out opportunity of the tie, firing into the side netting from close range after an excellent crossfield pass from Leandro Trossard (£5.8m) in the 35th minute.
On the defeat, Graham Potter admitted:
“It’s a sore one for us. I thought we, apart from the scorline, did a lot well in the game, had chances, didn’t take them and of course if you don’t… They didn’t do too much to get their goal. We were the better team up to that point. That’s football, you have to put the ball in the net. We created stuff, we tried, had shots, had chances, they didn’t have too much. I feel for the boys. We have to dust oursevles down. There’s enough quality there. We showed enough to say that we can move forward, that’s what we’ve got to do. It’s not a nice feeling when you lose a game. We didnt deserve to lose the game. We just need to focus on the positives, what we’ve done well. You can’t feel sorry for yourself. Sometimes you need a bit of luck – we didn’t get too much of that today. We have to keep working to turn those little margins in our favour. We know every game in this league is tough for us. Today there was a lot of effort and a lot of quality. I liked the performance, how we played. Over the course of the game we were quite good.” – Graham Potter
Owners of Wilfried Zaha (£6.8m) endured another blank in Gameweek 28 and may want to avoid the Match of the Day highlights. An injury-time break saw Cenk Tosun (£5.7m) eventually bundle the ball into Zaha’s path.
The winger, who opted to use the outside of his right foot, smashed the post with Mat Ryan (£4.8m) way off his line. The Australian keeper will not have been happy with his attempt to keep out Ayew’s goal, either.
Hodgson’s assessment of the fiery M23 derby clash was slightly different to Potter’s, with the Palace boss reckoning:
“It was a really good performance from the team, a battling performance. The pitch was heavy but I thought we kept in the game well and got our reward in the end. We should have more than one today and we missed two chances at the end but that is what happens when a team is losing, they send players forward. We had chances at the end, we had consistent moments towards the end of the game.” – Roy Hodgson
The result at the Amex means Brighton are looking nervously over their shoulders at the relegation zone, while Palace could secure safety with several games to spare. On that note, Hodgson added:
“You can never say never, it’s good to get back-to-back wins and we’ve got two important games coming up. If they go well, we can kiss relegation goodbye. We’ve got players coming back from injury so suddenly my squad looks different, whereas earlier in the season we needed all hands in deck.”
Brighton XI (4-2-3-1): Ryan; Burn, Dunk, Webster, Montoya (Jahanbaksh 77′); Propper, Bissouma (Alzate 81′); March (Murray 65′), Trossard, Mooy; Maupay.
Crystal Palace XI (4-3-3): Guaita; Van Aanholt, Cahill, Dann, Ward; McArthur, Kouyaté, McCarthy (Riedewald HT); Zaha, Benteke (Tosun 86′), Ayew.
BLANK GAMEWEEK 28 FPL MATCH REPORTS
- Norwich City 1-0 Leicester City
- Brighton and Hove Albion 0-1 Crystal Palace
- Bournemouth 2-2 Chelsea
- Newcastle United 0-0 Burnley
- West Ham United 3-1 Southampton
- Watford 3-0 Liverpool
- Everton 1-1 Manchester United
- Tottenham Hotspur 2-3 Wolverhampton Wanderers
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