Crystal Palace welcome Brighton to Selhurst Park on Monday night for the latest edition of this feisty rivalry.
The Eagles are currently just three points ahead of their arch-rivals, who sit 12th in the Premier League with 19 points to their name after a decent start to the campaign under Graham Potter, a man who has impressed so much that the Seagulls gave him a two-year contract extension just six months after appointing him.
In Palace’s case, Roy Hodgson has led his side to tenth position, just seven points off the Champions League places while also keeping the second-most clean sheets in the top-flight with six shutouts in 16 games.
While in terms of the league table, there isn’t a huge amount between the two clubs, one man might be the difference.
Brighton marksman Neal Maupay will be a player that Palace need to keep an eye on this Monday.
Maupay, 23, isn’t afraid to shoot having taken 3.1 attempts on goal per 90 minutes in the Premier League this term, and has two goals in his last two games after netting against Arsenal and Wolves.
While Tomkins and Cahill have played a big part in what is statistically the division’s second-best defence, Maupay could irritate them for one reason.
His 5 foot 7 frame.
The aforementioned centre-back pairing will win their aerial duels all day long, but when faced against a nippier, more diminutive forward such as Maupay – who prefers to have the ball into feet or played through for him to run on to, given he wins just 0.8 aerial duels per game – they might struggle due to their lack of balance.
We saw last time out against Wolves how the former Brentford man only needs a second to score a goal, taking a first-time shot following a long ball over the top which nestled into the bottom left corner.
Tomkins and Cahill started the last game against Watford and kept a clean sheet, but not without their fair share of issues as Ismaila Sarr and Gerard Deulofeu both caused trouble – with no injury problems to report, we presume that the English duo will start together again against Brighton.
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