Crystal Palace 1-1 Brighton & Hove Albion - Our Quick Takeaways

Written by Alex Pewter

To the ten brave folks willing to read about Crystal Palace's heartbreaking draw against Brighton, here are our key takeaways from the game.


Zaha Brighton


A Tale of Two Kicks

It is harsh to boil down an entire game into two moments, but two kicks shone brightest in fans' minds leaving the stadium. 

At one end, Jordan Ayew, put through by Benteke, left the Holmesdale and himself with their collective heads in their hands. His shot, sprung by a Gallagher challenge on the halfway line, needed to hit the target but sailed harmlessly into the side netting. Ayew has continued his solid form as a defensive winger but needs more confidence to improve in the shooting department. 

The death toll rang for Palace's victory with another kick, this time a long free-kick from Vicente Guaita. His goalkeeping performance was assured, particularly on crosses, but his final contribution to the game will disappoint him. With target man Christian Benteke lining up on the right side of the pitch, Guaita miscued his strike, sending it low and away from the Palace players. Brighton, able to spring an uncontested counter, punished the home team as Maupay levelled up the scoring.

Graham Potter's adjustments going into the second half weren't dealt with by Crystal Palace. The periods of dominance shown early in the game faded away as they retreated further into their shells. The introduction of Benteke and Kouyaté, which could just as quickly been hailed as an intelligent move had the game resulted in victory, only added to the defensive mindset. 

Having stolen a victory from Brighton last season, this last-gasp draw may be a form of unwanted footballing karma. A bitter taste to an otherwise encouraging performance. 

Gallagher Brighton

Press Press Press

Over the last four seasons, Palace has averaged 28.4 pressure per game in the attacking 1/3 of the pitch. Against Brighton, they closed down the opposition 81 times over 95 minutes, at more than double the rate of the Liverpool game, in what must be Palace's most aggressive pressing performance in the Premier League. 

Having forced Brighton to work the ball back to their 'keeper and occasionally causing errors from his clearances, the stamina on display was relentless throughout the game. This style, in turn, forced Brighton to alter their passing style, showing more of an emphasis on direct play. 

Conor Gallagher is still the driving force at the heart of the formation, but Odsonne Édouard did make a marked difference at the top of the pitch, with his added mobility over Christian Benteke. 

Credit must go to Patrick Vieira and his coaching staff for drastically changing the team's defensive identity in a short space of time. After years of low-block and defensive football, if nothing else, it added to the entertainment value in an end-to-end contest.

Zaha Goal Celebration

Travelling Fans Laud Zaha

"We're going to party when Wilfried Zaha dies.." 
sang the Brighton fans in the first half. Showing even a player that embodies the South London side of this rivalry will be celebrated on the South Coast for his brilliance come his final days.

Palace's left flank continues to excite as Tyrick Mitchell develops the attacking side of his game. Wilfried Zaha, re-energised under Vieira's leadership and playing in his natural left-wing role, looks dangerous whenever he receives the ball. A goal in open play still eludes him, even if the creative side of his game has been flourishing. The strength of the left side highlights the potential weaknesses on the right, where neither Ayew nor Ward can pose the same threat. 

A rash challenge on Conor Gallagher gave Zaha a chance to open the scoring before half-time. Now firmly in control of penalty duties, he made it two from two as he sent Robert Sánchez the wrong way. Cupping his ears as he ran towards the Brighton fans, Zaha let the away support know he heard their admiration and appreciated it.

xG Brighton Home

The xG Battle

In a game of few chances for either team, Zaha's penalty swung the balance for Crystal Palace in terms of chances. The team will be aggrieved not to have capitalised on periods of attacking possession when they had the opportunity. 

Wilfried Zaha's penalty and Jordan Ayew's late miss made up 85% of the xG for the fixture. The slow build-up still needs a cutting edge to break through.

Defensively, Guaita's save to prevent Danny Welbeck was an excellent piece of work. If the team removes the freak circumstances of the equaliser, they did well to restrict Brighton to low-percentage chances. The determined defensive effort cut out many potential dangers. 


Next Up - Leicester City (H)

One final home game stands between Patrick Vieira and another international break. Brendon Rodger's team has had a plodding start to their season, compared to their success in recent years, but remain a threat. 

Jamie Vardy remains an evergreen goalscorer, having netted five times already this season. With creative outlets going forward, the midfield, built around the work rate of Youri Tielemans and Wilfred Ndidi, will be a big challenge for Palace's counterparts. 

With Jeffrey Schlupp returning to action against Brighton, Will Hughes still to debut, and Michael Olise waiting in the wings for more minutes, the team has plenty of depth to change up the starting XI. 

With six points on the board, the club will be satisfied with the start, given the difficulty of the fixtures on paper. It can be argued there are weaker teams in the division, but Patrick Vieira needs to back up that early promise.