Can FPL managers still trust Brighton defence after derby debacle? |

Brighton 1-2 Crystal Palace

  • Goals: Joël Veltman (£4.3m) | Jean Philippe-Mateta (£5.8m), Christian Benteke (£5.5m)
  • Assists: Jordan Ayew (£5.6m), Andros Townsend (£5.5m)
  • Bonus points: Benteke x3, Mateta x2, Veltman x1


Brighton failed to deliver on their recent defensive promise as they lost the A23 derby to Crystal Palace in a dramatic fashion.

After dominating proceedings with their 25 shots, Graham Potter’s men fell to a stoppage-time winner from substitute Christian Benteke (£5.5m).

Such a disastrous end to the game was frustrating for the growing number of Fantasy Premier League managers invested in Brighton’s defence.

They had kept five clean sheets in the previous six Gameweeks, 62.5% of their shutouts for the whole campaign occurring during a period which pitted them against Spurs, Liverpool and Aston Villa.

Furthermore, Crystal Palace had not scored a single Premier League goal in five matches without Wilfried Zaha (£7.1m) this season… until they netted twice on Monday night.

Can Brighton’s defence still be trusted then?

A Double Gameweek 26 meeting with West Bromwich Albion still holds clean sheet promise based on Brighton’s mid-term form and the fact that Sam Allardyce’s men have blanked in two of their last three.

They also face Southampton (away) and Newcastle (home) between now and Blank Gameweek 29.


While Crystal Palace have hardly been a team worth relying on for defensive returns this season but they showed a glimmer of potential on Monday night.

They weathered Brighton’s storm of 25 shots impressively, producing a total of 56 on the Clearances, Blocks and Interceptions (CBI) metric.

Gary Cahill (£4.5m) said at full-time that the Eagles’ recent form had triggered a ‘back-to-basics’ approach from them in the A23 derby.

For a team like Palace, that means a focus on defence. If they are able to lay down another deep (and effective) block in Double Gameweek 26, it is possible that Tyrick Mitchell (£3.9m) could be a worthy starter or someone to Bench Boost.

A more defensive approach makes it more likely the left-back will start ahead of the more adventurous Patrick van Aanholt (£5.4m) while Fulham have the second-worst shot accuracy in the Premier League over their last four matches.

“I think that was an important factor because we had to accept we weren’t able to do enough ourselves with the ball, when we were able to win it back. We were put under pressure immediately and as a result quite often the ball was more around our area and final third than we were able to get into theirs. But I thought the resilience, the determination and the sheer guts really that the players showed both in terms of the shape of the team in those areas, but also in terms of their desire to block and not concede clear-cut goal chances.” – Roy Hodgson


Jean-Philippe Mateta (£5.8m) will be pleased with his first Crystal Palace goal but it could be Benteke who answers the Eagles’ questions about playing without Zaha.

Over the last three Gameweeks since making his Premier League debut, Mateta has registered just two efforts on goal.

By contrast, in just 105 minutes over the same period, Benteke has unleashed seven efforts on goal.

Five of those have been inside the penalty area and five were on target.

That makes for an impressive minutes-per-chance figure of 15 while James Maddison (£7.3m) is the only Premier League player to register more shots on target than Benteke since Gameweek 23. His total of five is level with Ilkay Gundogan (£6.1m), Phil Foden (£6.1m), Jesse Lingard (£5.9m) and Bruno Fernandes (£11.6m)

“(Benteke’s goal) should make a big difference. This is what all coaches expect of their players. You can only pick XI. There are always going to be people left out of the team that makes people think the coach doesn’t know what he is doing. The only thing players can do is take their chance. All too often, I find, players would prefer to feel sorry for themselves than do what Christian did tonight. Come on for the last 15 minutes and prove the manager wrong for not picking him.” – Roy Hodgson

Brighton and Hove Albion XI (3-4-1-2): R Sánchez; Burn, Dunk, White; Alzate (Welbeck 46′), Bissouma, Groß (Jahanbakhsh 81′), Veltman; Mac Allister (Lallana 68′); Maupay, Trossard.

Crystal Palace XI (4-3-3): Guaita; Mitchell, Cahill, Kouyaté, J Ward; Eze (J McCarthy 90+1′), Milivojevic, Riedewald; A Townsend, Mateta (Benteke 75′), Ayew.

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