- Arthiac Team
Brighton & Hove Albion travelled all the way to south London as they looked to delight and please their fans by finishing game week 6 on top of the Premier League table, which would be a colossal achievement for Graham Potter.
Both sides started the game with real intent as they looked to claim all 3 points for their substantial growth and climb up the table.
The Eagles got going within the opening 7 minutes of the game. They really put Robert Sanchez and Brighton's defence to the test with 2 shots on goal.
The pressure from Palace was relentless as they kept Graham Potter's men in their own half as Conor Gallagher and James McArthur pulled the strings in midfield and caused the Brighton defence to think twice and thrice before launching an attack of their own.
Well, the game didn't start in a way in which both sides would settle for a point, as stated by Mark Lawrenson which was later agreed by Micheal Owen.
Odsonne Edouard put Sanchez's positioning and palms to the test in the visitors' goal line, forcing the Spanish goalkeeper to make a simple save.
Nonetheless, Patrick Vieira and his men pushed forward for an early goal as they tested the resilience of the seagulls' defensive line, but Brighton responded with an attack of their own via a chip ball over the Eagles' defence as Danny Welbeck found himself in a 1-on-1 situation in front of the goal, but Dan Ward got himself in between Welbeck's sight on goal and had him delaying his aim at the target.
In multiple replays, it did show that Dan Ward clipped* Welbeck's left leg on his way to resist the striker.
Danny was down on the floor inside the 18-yard-box, but the ref didn't see much in there to reward the Brighton striker irrespective of his complaints.
According to us, if Welbeck went down at that moment, (*) he would force the referee and the VAR to reward him with a penalty as he brought him down at the point when Welbeck was loading his shot on goal, but the mere fact that Welbeck still had an attempt on goal made it difficult for VAR to overturn the on-field referee's decision.
Minutes later, Crystal Palace were awarded a penalty for a challenge from Leanardo Trossard inside the penalty box where he nudged Conor Gallagher with excessive force as referee Andre Marriner rewarded the Eagles a penalty which caused the Belgian winger to lose his cool slightly. Honestly, you can't complain much about that. There is very little argument that could be made to defend Trossard's challenge, but that is something that the VAR will not take into consideration unless they work really hard into it, but you can't make a strong case with it. It was a penalty!
Wilfred Zaha loves scoring against Brighton & Hove Albion as he has scored eight goals against them in his senior career. Just another day at the breakfast table for Wilfred Zaha!
Brighton came out in the second half with much more energy and girth in their play as Graham Potter made a change as he brought on the London-born Colombian international, Steven Alzate, at the start of the second half.
The seagulls tried to come back in the second half and top the table for the very first time in the top-flight.
The Seagulls asked the Eagles multiple questions as they pushed higher up the pitch and changed their system.
Against a Palace side, when their centre-backs are not as established as the other sides, a team could build and generate play from the wings and really rest the "decision-making" of Marc Guehi and Joachim Andersen and Brighton did just that!
The game called for Brighton and Graham Potter to be bold and brave. When Marc Cucurella gave the ball away at the feet of Conor Gallagher as the English midfielder turned up the tempo and ran towards goal, it could have ended any hope Brighton had of securing three crucial points.
However, it was a huge moment of grief for the Palace fans when Jordan Ayew had the goal in his sight to give the Eagles a 2-goal lead, but the Ghanian international striked it wide of the goal frame as the Palace faithful watched on in agony with their hands on the back of their heads.
Minutes passed and Brighton had the remedy to rub salt to the wounds of Ayew and the Palace fans. It was on its way. In the 90th minute, Duffy had an opportunity following a set-piece as he headed it straight into the palms of Vicente Guaita, but the Seagulls still looked for an opportunity to pounce on.
The moment finally came in the 5th minute of stoppage time when Guaita cleared the ball.
However, his clearance fell straight at the feet of Brighton's Joel Veltman as he looped a ball over the top of Crystal Palace's defensive line as Brighton's striker, Neal Maupay met it and chipped it over and beyond Guaita's reach to equalise in dramatic fashion as Graham Potter and his coaching staff brought in all the cheers and smiles at the dug-out.
It only required a slight dip in concentration from the Palace back-line as Patrick Vieira was seen swallowing his disappointment in silence.
The game meant so much to both sets of players as Wilfred Zaha and Neal Maupay were seen exchanging unpleasantries as the French striker was seen mimicking the Palace fans.
What next for Crystal Palace?
Patrick Vieira would still be pissed and lewd at this point of time in the training ground as his boys have not managed to seal a victory after leading the game for long periods in the second-half.
It just goes to show that there is no place to hide in the Premier League if you lose your concentration at any moment during the game.
Crystal Palace's next four fixtures are against three top oppositions in Leicester City, Arsenal and Manchester City. With Arsenal showing signs of being a top class side after their recent victory against Spurs, it won't be an easy task for the Eagles to travel to the Emirates and face them.
Leicester City have also been on the decline in recent games. They have been conceding goals and this may be an opportunity for Patrick Vieira to seal a point or even all three against the Foxes, but yet again, with the form of Jamie Vardy and with the shaky defence of Crystal Palace, things may go a bit haywire when those fixtures come around.
Against the Citizens, it could depend on whether Manchester City blossoms on that day or not. As we have seen in their game against Southampton, they were able to create chances, but the Saints were well organised.
Organisation and patience will be the key for the Eagles against Manchester City. However, it will be tough for them to contain Pep Guardiola's men.
But all that is still miles away. The international break is around the corner, and Vieira will have enough time to think about his plans to set up a strategy and plan in place against those top sides.
The Eagles have a game against Newcastle in between the next four fixtures. They have to target that game as a must-win. Newcastle have been conceding a lot of shots in and around the box. Afterall, these points make a difference at the end of the season.
As a Crystal Palace fan, you may want to see your side come as close as they possibly can in those European places. A Conference League entry for next season will be a dream come to life.
The journey ahead is tough for Vieira and his boys, but every hole dug to make the next yard ahead is a seed well sown!