Aged 34 and spearheading a side that many thought would spend the majority of the campaign bobbing in and out of the relegation zone, Glenn Murray has continually defied expectations this season. There were even arguments for a shock England call-up prior to the last international break and the veteran striker is still the fourth-top English goalscorer in the Premier League this season, only surpassed by Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Jamie Vardy.
And Murray’s Indian summer with Brighton will be a particular sore spot for their bitter rivals Crystal Palace, who host the Seagulls in the Premier League on Saturday. After convincing Murray to cross the southern divide in 2011 and help fire them to the Premier League, they cast the 6 foot 2 striker aside four years later – seemingly deeming him surplus to requirements upon agreeing a £4million fee with Bournemouth.
The summer after, Palace filled Murray’s void by forking out a club-record sum on Christian Benteke, but there’s little question over which striker has proved more potent this season. While Benteke is amid the most modest season of his career, finding just two goals in the Premier League, Murray has bagged eleven – more than a third of all Brighton’s goals in the top flight. That’s one of the reasons there’s a four-point gap between both teams in the Premier League table, and Brighton feel far more certain of retaining their Premier League status for next season at this moment in time.
In fairness, the Belgium international, who Transfermarkt value at £19.8million, has contributed in other ways. He’s created more chances than Murray per match this season and accordingly laid on five more assists, with the former Rochdale striker still awaiting his first. Likewise, Benteke has probably been the more consistent presence in the final third, winning a sensational amount of aerial duels to help bring the likes of Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend into the game.
So with that in mind, there’s a consequential question for Brighton and Palace fans to answer. Which striker would you rather have lead the line for your team in Saturday’s derby at Selhurst Park? Let us know by voting below…