Misfiring Crystal Palace have cause to be fearful on Brighton derby day | Crystal Palace

Patrick Vieira

It is sort of 4 years since Crystal Palace tasted defeat in opposition to their arch-enemies however, given how this season is panning out, Saturday’s assembly with Brighton might be stuffed with trepidation for his or her supporters.

Whereas Patrick Vieira’s aspect discover themselves within the acquainted place of twelfth – the place they completed final season – simply previous the halfway level, their rivals from down the A23 are in competition to qualify for Europe thanks partially to a scouting system that has turn out to be the envy of the nation. Whereas the emergence of the Japan winger Kaoru Mitoma because the fulcrum of Roberto De Zerbi’s dashing aspect has supplied Seagulls supporters with a brand new hero, Palace go into the sport at Selhurst Park having gained solely as soon as of their previous 10 matches in all competitions and are anticipated to be with out their very own talisman, Wilfried Zaha, as he continues to recuperate from a hamstring harm.

The Ivory Coast ahead has usually proved a thorn in Brighton’s aspect, scoring eight occasions in simply 14 appearances, together with two within the semi-final of the Championship playoffs in 2013 that led to Palace’s promotion. However doubts over whether or not the 30-year-old will nonetheless be on the membership when subsequent season’s derby rolls round are rising by the day because the profitable five-year contract he signed in August 2018 nears its conclusion, with a transfer to Italy or elsewhere doubtlessly on the playing cards.

Zaha’s future is just not the one off-field challenge proving a distraction to progress on the pitch at Palace. The long-running saga of trying to redevelop Selhurst Park’s predominant stand to extend capability by 8,000 to greater than 34,000 – edging forward of the Amex’s 30,750 – stays the precedence of the chairman, Steve Parish, however planning permission for the £100m undertaking has but to be granted by the mayor of London regardless of approval from Croydon council final October.

The £20m paid by John Textor to extend his stake in Palace to greater than 40% when the American businessman accomplished his takeover of Lyon in December will go in the direction of that fund, with one other giant unknown sum understood to be paid this month as a part of the settlement with Parish. Relations between the pair are believed have improved barely after they have been barely on talking phrases for weeks due to vital delays Textor confronted in pushing by way of the £800m Lyon deal when Parish initially refused to permit him to modify his shares in Palace to his holding firm Eagle Soccer Holdings.

Patrick Vieira
Patrick Vieira, the Crystal Palace supervisor, has proven indicators of frustration this season. {Photograph}: Richard Heathcote/Getty Photos

Textor’s authentic £87m funding in August 2021 is known to have helped clear most of Palace’s money owed in addition to gone in the direction of funding the acquisition of gamers similar to Marc Guéhi, Joachim Andersen and Michael Olise in the summertime of 2021, and the membership’s new £20m academy. Nonetheless, he’s believed to stay annoyed at Parish’s hands-on strategy and what he perceives as an absence of ambition within the switch market that led to the arrival of solely two gamers in January – the 20-year-old French midfielder Naouirou Ahamada for £10m from Stuttgart and Albert Sambi Lokonga on mortgage from Arsenal.

These have been the minimal necessities for Vieira, who has been determined for reinforcements after being lauded final season when he succeeded Roy Hodgson and remodeled Palace’s taking part in model as they reached the FA Cup semi-finals. The previous Arsenal captain has proven indicators of frustration throughout this marketing campaign. Final month introduced elimination from the Cup by the underside membership, Southampton, within the third spherical and the workforce have scored solely 19 objectives in 21 Premier League matches, in contrast with 30 at this stage final 12 months, in amassing the identical variety of factors.

Palace have been hampered by restricted choices in midfield after Conor Gallagher’s return to Chelsea and the extended absence of the injured James McArthur, and by the shortage of a dependable striker, with neither Odsonne Édouard nor Jean-Philippe Mateta fairly becoming the invoice. A minimum of Olise gave Palace supporters one thing to smile about along with his late equaliser in opposition to Manchester United final month after returning strongly from the knee harm that hampered him for a number of months on the finish of final season.

Danny Welbeck (centre) celebrates after a Joachim Andersen own goal gives Brighton a late equaliser against Crystal Palace last January.
Danny Welbeck (centre) celebrates after a Joachim Andersen personal purpose provides Brighton a late equaliser in opposition to Crystal Palace final January. {Photograph}: Mike Hewitt/Getty Photos

Vieira may normally depend on his stable central defensive unit of Guéhi and Andersen, though the Dane scored the 87th minute personal purpose that rescued a degree for Graham Potter’s Brighton within the golf equipment’ most up-to-date assembly final January. That was the primary time in 4 conferences {that a} decisive purpose had not been scored within the ninetieth minute or later. Due to Christian Benteke’s strike within the fifth minute of stoppage time on the Amex in February 2021 Palace are two wins behind Brighton within the head-to-head.

De Zerbi, who stated this week that the Premier League “fits my philosophy” amid hyperlinks with a return to Serie A with Milan, will fancy his probabilities of extending Brighton’s benefit in his first style of certainly one of soccer’s extra curious rivalries. “We want to give the followers extra satisfaction as a result of, for us, Crystal Palace is just not a traditional recreation,” stated the Italian.