Fierce south-east rivals to settle for a point
An all mid-table Premier League clash will take place at the Amex Stadium on Friday night, with Brighton & Hove Albion 'welcoming' fierce rivals Crystal Palace to East Sussex. Both sides have had very similarly mixed form in recent weeks, but the hosts are four points and a game in hand to the good. Read our preview here:
Cuc-ing on gas
Graham Potter's charges aren't quite as bad this season as last when it comes to their xG deficiencies, but have still only barely scored (and conceded) more than one per match. More firepower to support Neal Maupay ought to be the order of the day, with only Belgian forward Leo Trossard and midfielder Alexis Mac Allister also troubling the net more than twice in the league. The 3-5-2 emphasises the importance of the wing-backs to bring width and creativity to bear, though left-sided Marc Cucurella's accurate crosses have only merited one assist thus far. The 23 year old's impressive set of skills in the air and without the ball in addition to his efficacy on it have made him one of the first names on the team sheet. Elsewhere, Lewis Dunk could be named on the bench, whilst Yves Bissouma will be a big miss in the heart of the XI whilst at AFCON.
A new Olise of life
Michael Olise had a huge hand in helping the Eagles overturn their disadvantage in the London derby with Millwall in the FA Cup at the weekend, setting up one and netting the other himself. He is likely to stay narrow to make Cucurella pause for thought when attacking; there is plenty of pace on the break in red and white to trouble the hosts, and with Christian Benteke more closely resembling the target man of old, then it makes for an exciting blend of youthful verve and experience available to Patrick Vieira. Conor Gallagher should pull the strings behind the striker, whilst Jeffrey Schlupp could make an appearance, having not been called up by Ghana for the tournament in Cameroon.
There appears to be little to separate the two sides. Vieira has defied pre-season harbingers of doom, refreshing the squad from being one of the oldest in the division to the opposite. This has sometimes come at the cost of decisive results in their favour, but they ought to slowly improve. Brighton can also do better with what they have, but their main weakness is more obvious. betway have odds of 3.20 for a draw that will keep the sides bubbling along in the middle of the pack.