Get involved: Send pictures, video, news and views - text NEWS SHOPPER to 80360 or email us
Brighton game will be Palace's hardest during promotion run-in
3:57pm Tuesday 12th March 2013 in Crystal Palace
EAGLES columnist SAM ROSS looks ahead to this weekend’s derby at Brighton and also explains why he has no sympathy for Wilfried Zaha following the winger’s rude gesture to Leeds United supporters on Saturday.
SUNDAY is the long-anticipated arrival of Palace’s biggest game of the season at Brighton.
But it is not just massive in terms of bragging rights, it is huge for the Eagles with the ‘business end of the season’ well and truly upon us.
Avoiding the cliché of every remaining match being like a cup final, this Sunday's trip to the south coast is without doubt the toughest of the remaining fixtures for Ian Holloway’s side.
Brighton are chasing a play-off spot themselves and will want to regain some pride after their 3-0 defeat at Selhurst in December and humiliation at their own ground the season before.
I don’t want to naively predict three points on Sunday will guarantee the Eagles a place in the play-offs, but it will take something catastrophic, but still do-able, to see them mess up what will be a 10-point gap from seventh with eight games to go.
Brighton are ready to pounce and capitalise on anyone currently in the play-off spots slipping up and Gus Poyet will have no trouble psyching his players up for the derby.
But their players, like Palace’s, must be controlled.
There have been four red cards in the last seven meetings between the two clubs, three for the Seagulls and just one for Palace, and there is no argument Lewis Dunk’s sending off in the opening few minutes of the last fixture ruined the game.
The remainder of the first half was a complete bore with Brighton trying to play for the draw, but thankfully Holloway’s attacking style made it impossible for them to do that in the end.
It is a shame Stephen Dobbie is unavailable to play and prove to Poyet what a mistake it was letting him leave, while Wilfried Zaha should also not be allowed to be play in my opinion.
Zaha is awaiting punishment from the FA for putting his middle finger up at Leeds fans on Saturday and could be banned from Sunday’s clash.
This act of stupidity was disgraceful and he should be banned by the authorities.
If not then the club should take strong action themselves.
The only people it seems to have impressed are Manchester United fans.
Whether that was his intention, who knows?
Simply admitting it was ‘unprofessional’, a response which was most probably suggested to him anyway, is not acceptable.
Zaha is idolised by the youngsters watching on at Selhurst.
They would have been fixated on him when he made the gesture, combined with a smug grin, and most probably some have copied it by now.
There is no doubt the 20-year-old has quality when the ball is at his feet, but his attitude certainly needs to improve, not because he is going to Old Trafford in the summer but because his temperament could risk jeopardising Palace’s chances of promotion.
Follow us on Twitter @NewsShopperSprt