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Crystal Palace unrecognisable from Roy Hodgson era but Patrick Vieira denied statement win against Brighton

·3 min read
Vicente Guaita’s poor free-kick led to Brighton’s last-gasp equaliser at Selhurst Park  (Action Images via Reuters)
Vicente Guaita’s poor free-kick led to Brighton’s last-gasp equaliser at Selhurst Park (Action Images via Reuters)

Neal Maupay broke Crystal Palace hearts in the final flickers of added time and robbed Patrick Vieira of a statement result at Selhurst Park.

The Eagles, putting on a show of their new style here, had been so dominant until one lapse and moment of naivety in the last of five minutes added on let their great rivals Brighton in.

Vicente Guaita’s goal had not been truly threatened throughout the preceding 94 minutes, but it was a mistake from the Spaniard which allowed the Seagulls their chance.

The goalkeeper, tasked with taking a free-kick in the dying seconds yards from his own goal line, fizzed a low long ball straight to Joel Veltman, whose first touch sent it back and onto the foot of Maupay, with the former Brentford striker then guiding it over Guaita’s head before wheeling away to the delirious travelling support.

Such a moment is not rare in these fixtures - the last three have all featured a goal in the 90th minute or later - but it will hurt for Vieira, so close was he to securing a second win as Palace boss after such a dominant display.

The south Londoners had already blown away a shoddy Tottenham side here but the new Eagles boss is keen to find a level of consistency with this new-look Palace squad.

It was ahead of last season’s visit to Brighton that fans made their opinion about the direction of the club clear. A banner placed outside the training ground by supporters claimed a “pandemic of apathy” had taken hold, while Roy Hodgson’s more conservative approach to football was criticised.

Hodgson responded with a vintage smash-and-grab win at Brighton days later, but those in the boardroom certainly took notice of the criticism.

This Palace performance was unrecognisable from those under Hodgson.

Across two games against their rivals last season, they managed just three shots. In the first half alone here there were seven aimed at Brighton’s goal.

Palace were on it from the start, with Marc Guehi and Joachim Andersen holding their nerve and keeping a high line with fellow summer signing Conor Gallagher, the all-action midfielder, buzzing away.

For all the dominance, however, there was a concern that they would not make good on their control and chances.

Gallagher, exactly the sort of player Palace have been lacking, was the one looking to make things happen from deep throughout, and it was the Chelsea loanee who won the penalty just before the break with his driving run causing Leandro Trossard to bring him down.

Wilfried Zaha quickly took the ball and marked his 400th appearance for Palace with an eighth career goal against their rivals.

Palace looked to press home their dominance after the break, continuing to push forward and not looking to sit tight and deep as they would have done in seasons gone by.

While Guaita was at fault, Jordan Ayew was certainly also culpable for Palace not taking all three points.

Substitute Christian Benteke sent him clear as the hosts raced forward through the middle but the forward could only hit the side netting when he should have scored, with it now being 35 games since his last goal for Palace.

Vieira will be glad to see Eberechi Eze return in the coming months.

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