Five Things We Learnt From The Derby Win Against Brighton
After a quite exhilarating derby win at the weekend, do we really care what we learnt from the game? Well, here are our thoughts anyway …
1. When it comes to Palace and Brighton, the Eagles are the teachers, and the Seagulls are their pupils. Palace have made a habit of turning up in big fixtures against their rivals, and Saturday proved to be no different. The home side burst out of the blocks and blew their visitors away in the opening quarter of an hour, and would have been out of sight were in not for some slack defending. It was a day when the derby finally lived up to its billing, and just went to show that sometimes it is simply a case of wanting it more.
2. Wilfried Zaha rarely needs added motivation, but proving people wrong seems to spur him on that little bit more. The Ivorian has made no secret of his disdain for Brighton and their fans, so it was fitting that he was the man to leave his mark on another chapter of the rivalry’s history. It was Zaha’s first brace since that famous play-off semi-final in 2013, and his general presence seemed to petrify the Seagulls’ back four. If anyone arrived at Saturday’s game fearing the worst, Zaha quickly proved that he simply wasn’t going to let that happen.
3. While Zaha has rightly received most of the praise for his two goals, Ruben Loftus-Cheek was just as good – if not better. The Chelsea loanee spent all afternoon brushing Brighton players off the ball and accelerating away from them with ease, rediscovering the form he had been showing before his injury setback at the turn of the year. If he can keep up this level of performance, he will do no harm to his chances of an England call-up, while Palace should be doing all they can to get him back at Selhurst Park next season.
4. Palace need to manage games better. Once the Eagles went 2-0 up, the result should have been a foregone conclusion. Instead, it became a rollercoaster of nail-biting emotion as the home side continued to overcommit going forward, allowing Brighton to score with their only two ventures into the Palace penalty area in the first half. The Eagles did, at least, become more compact in the second period, but had they taken their foot off the gas to control the match a little earlier, it could have been an easier afternoon for everyone.
5. Glenn Murray was back with a point to prove. The former Palace man looked like the only Brighton player who was up for it during the first half, and had he not been single-handedly dragging them forward, they may not have had a chance to salvage something in the second half. While it might seem harsh to say, the former Palace man looked everything that Christian Benteke has not been this season. Thankfully though, he remembered where his loyalties lie when one final chance dropped his way in injury time.