Crystal Palace and Brighton will write the latest chapter in their rivalry when the two sides meet in the Premier League tonight.
Often considered a derby, both Crystal Palace and Brighton fans will be keen to correct you if you make that assumption – particularly if you add the prefixes of ‘A23’ or ‘M23’ – which are nicknames coined by the press rather than supporters.
More than 40 miles apart geographically, the hostility between both clubs is not borne out of their locality to one another.
Instead, the rivalry ignited in the 1970s when both sides simultaneously rose through the divisions, often in direct contention with one another for titles and promotions.
That rivalry has endured right up to the present day, with Friday’s clash at the Amex Stadium the 100th league meeting between Crystal Palace and Brighton.
Both sides head in to the game in similar form, having each one 2 of their previous 5 matches. Brighton occupy the top half in 9th, whilst Palace can move in to the top 10 themselves with victory on the South Coast.
Palace will still be reeling from the reverse fixture earlier on in the campaign, when a last-gasp Neal Maupay effort was enough to steal a point for the Seagulls from Selhurst Park in a fiery encounter which ended 1-1.
Patrick Vieira’s side have made an unwanted habit of conceding late this season and they will be particularly keen to avoid similar disappointment on Friday.
As for Graham Potter’s Brighton, finding ways to win games has been their issue this term, with no side in the Premier League having drawn more times this season than their 9 ties in 19 games.
Pair that with a dead level goal difference – 20 for and 20 against – and the picture becomes clearer in terms of their struggles in outscoring opponents.
Fitness wise, Potter is still without Jeremy Sarmiento following surgery, whilst Enock Mwepu has been ruled out for several weeks with a hamstring strain.
Lewis Dunk continues to nurse a knee injury which will see him miss this high-intensity match, whilst influential midfielder Yves Bissouma is away with Mali at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Crystal Palace have a number of players participating in Afcon too, with Jordan Ayew, Cheikhou Kouyate and Wilfried Zaha all in Cameroon for the tournament.
James McArthur and James Tomkins are both still sidelined, whilst goalkeeper Vicente Guaita, who missed the recent FA Cup game at Millwall with a hand injury, will be assessed ahead of any potential involvement.
Brighton v Crystal Palace kicks off at 8pm on Friday 14th January.
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