Crystal Palace 1-1 Brighton and Hove Albion
- Goals: Wilfried Zaha (£7.2m) | Alexis Mac Allister (£5.3m)
- Assists: Michy Batshuayi (£5.8m) | Aaron Connolly (£5.5m)
- Red card: Lewis Dunk (£4.9m)
- Bonus: Mac Allister x3, Zaha x2, Solly March (£5.0m) x1
Owners of Wilfried Zaha (£7.2m) were the only real winners as a scrappy M23 derby ended with the spoils shared.
Zaha scored from the spot to notch his fourth goal of the season – as many as he managed in the whole of 2019/20 – but the other three players who delivered attacking returns at Selhurst Park were all owned by fewer than 1% of Fantasy Premier League managers.
With no clean sheets or save points arriving, and with Lewis Dunk (£4.9m) seeing red for a reckless late foul that will now rule him out until Gameweek 9, there was no joy for those who backed the defences of either side, either.
After scoring just 31 goals in 38 Premier League matches last season, Palace have fostered a reputation for being a defence-first side under Roy Hodgson.
A move to a 4-4-2 in the current campaign and a 3-1 win over an out-of-sorts Manchester United in Gameweek 2 did suggest that the Eagles would attack with more abandon in 2020/21 but the Eagles have since reverted to type.
The hosts managed just one shot – Zaha’s penalty – in Sunday’s clash with Brighton and Hove Albion, having mustered only four attempts in the 4-0 defeat at Chelsea a fortnight ago.
Granted, they might have shown more attacking ambition against the Seagulls had they not had an early lead to defend, but their lack of response against Frank Lampard’s side was a concern.
Palace sit top of our Season Ticker over the next six Gameweeks and will face some of the division’s weakest defences in Fulham and West Bromwich Albion in that time.
Perhaps fixtures will count more than form in those cases but there is otherwise little incentive to invest in their attack.
|Palace’s rank v other PL clubs in 2020/21|
|Minutes per chance||20th|
|Minutes per shot on target||20th|
|Minutes per shot in the box||19th|
|Minutes per big chance||17th|
Zaha does have an ‘out of position’ tag to his name, at least, and being a nominated penalty-taker currently counts for a lot given the spike in spot-kick awards.
The return of Patrick van Aanholt (£5.4m), who was on the bench on Sunday afternoon, is one to monitor, though, given that the Dutchman stepped up from 12 yards on one occasion last season.
Should hitherto first-choice penalty-taker Luka Milivojevic (£5.7m) reclaim a starting spot, that would lead to further uncertainty.
CASE FOR THE DEFENCE
A shot count of 20-1 in Brighton’s favour might have looked like one-way traffic but Albion didn’t often trouble Vicente Guaita (£5.0m), aside from one smart stop that the Palace custodian made from Neal Maupay (£6.6m).
Guaita only made one other save apart from that and it took a deflected, 89th-minute effort from substitute Alexis Mac Allister (£5.3m) to spoil the Eagles’ clean sheet, even if it gave the scoreline a fairer look.
While there are reservations about Palace’s attack, their defence has traditionally excelled against the also-rans (they managed clean sheets in half of their 18 meetings with fellow bottom-half clubs last season) and the upcoming schedule bodes well on that front.
Providing the knock he took to the shin from Dunk isn’t serious, the return of Gary Cahill (£4.5m) is also a boon – as his manager explained:
First of all, he’s a very, very good defender. His positioning is very good, he’s exceptionally good in the air, he’s a strong challenger for the ball and a very good blocker of the ball. These are the defensive qualities we don’t talk about every day. They’re the qualities that get you the clean sheets.
He’s also brought us leadership qualities, he’s been very good leadership-wise. He’s the best type of leader: he’s the quiet leader people don’t see from Row Z in the stand. He’s the leader we see in training week to week.
Brighton, too, have looked comfortable at the back against mid-table fodder (Newcastle, Palace) despite their concession of ten goals in matches against Manchester United, Chelsea and high-flying Everton.
While it’s difficult to gauge how solid they are based on Sunday’s match against a limp Palace, they too have favourable home games against West Brom, Burnley and Southampton in the next six Gameweeks.
Dunk’s suspension weakens them to an extent but if there is one area in which the Seagulls are well covered, it’s at centre-half.
BUDGET ASSET WATCH
Two budget defenders with double-digit ownerships locked horns at Selhurst Park on Sunday – quite literally at one point following a second-half coming-together.
Mitchell’s yellow card and late loss of a clean sheet meant that he emerged with another blank and his place looks a lot more at risk than Lamptey’s, with van Aanholt finally fit enough for bench duty on Sunday.
The young defender has exceeded expectations this season but the attacking impetus that van Aanholt brings has arguably been missed and the changing of the guard at left-back seems to be a matter of when, not if.
Lamptey may fall foul of Graham Potter’s on-hold rotation when the fixtures mount up in December but he’s an important cog in the machine at present, with no player creating more chances than the right-back at Selhurst Park.
Yves Bissouma (£4.5m) continues to offer a bit of a threat in the budget midfield bracket, even if most of his efforts tend to come from distance. The Mali international, who scored in Gameweek 4, rippled the side-netting with one early shot and saw a well-hit effort from outside the box sail over after the interval.
Crystal Palace XI (4-4-2): Guaita; Ward, Kouyate, Cahill, Mitchell; Townsend, Riedewald, McArthur, Schlupp (Benteke 88′); Batshuayi (Milivojevic 83′), Zaha.
Brighton and Hove Albion XI (3-4-2-1): Ryan; Webster, Dunk, Burn (Gross 82′); Lamptey, White, Bissouma, March; Trossard (Connolly 78′), Lallana (Mac Allister 78′); Maupay.
PREMIUM MEMBERS ANALYSIS
LESSONS LEARNED FROM FPL GAMEWEEK 5
- Everton 2-2 Liverpool
- Chelsea 3-3 Southampton
- Manchester City 1-0 Arsenal
- Newcastle United 1-4 Manchester United
- Sheffield United 1-1 Fulham
- Crystal Palace 1-1 Brighton and Hove Albion
- Tottenham Hotspur 3-3 West Ham United
- Leicester City 0-1 Aston Villa
- West Bromwich Albion 0-0 Burnley
- Leeds United 0-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
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