Will Brighton pitch Martin Montoya or Steven Alzate up against Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha?

One thing that has troubled Albion this season is pace and they will be up against another Premier League flyer tonight in Wilfried Zaha.

Monday, 16th December 2019, 11:15 am
Updated Monday, 16th December 2019, 4:22 pm
Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha will be a threat to Brighton and Hove Albion at Selhurst Park tonight

Zaha, 27, may not be in the electric form of previous seasons but in the last few matches he has shown signs he is finding his feet once more.

He has two goals from his last four matches, having notched against Liverpool and Burnley, and if one game is sure to get the best from Zaha, it could well be in the hotly contested "M23 Derby".

Brighton struggled against the pace of Leicester's Jamie Vardy during the 2-0 home loss earlier this season and were also torn apart at Old Trafford by the blistering speed of Marcus Rashford and Daniel James.

Brighton and Hove Albion defender Martin Montoya was given a tough time earlier this season by Marcus Rashford

Both started from wide areas and were prepared to run directly at the Albion rear-guard at high speed. Zaha will likely try to do the same.

Graham Potter's men did show improvement last time out against Wolves' powerhouse Adama Traore. Traore is one of the fastest in the Premier League but Dan Burn coped pretty well with his threat.

On a few occasions Traore looked to go past the 6ft 7in defender but was often thwarted by a long leg at the last second to prevent a cross or a shot.

This time, Zaha's threat will likely come from the opposite flank and Brighton will have to be equally focused.

Brighton and Hove Albion defender Dan Burn coped pretty well with the threat from Wolves flyer Adama Traore

The Palace man has been frustrated this season after failing to seal a move away to one of the Premier League giants. His manager Roy Hodgson seems to have him in the zone once more and, if he does crave a new year move away from Selhurst Park, a few top level displays this time of year could convince the big clubs to add a few more millions to their January offers.

On his day Zaha is among the very best and is capable of lighting up any stadium across Europe and Brighton have a bit of a dilemma as to how to tackle his threat.

Midfielder Steven Alzate has been entrusted with right back duties for the last two matches. He played superbly at Arsenal but had a few more problems in this unfamiliar role against Wolves. Potter will have to decide if regular right back Martin Montoya is recalled to the starting XI and face up to Zaha.

Montoya, as many right backs have found this season, was given a torrid time against Rashford and will need support from his fellow defenders and deeper lying midfielders.

Steven Alzate has played at right back for Brighton in the previous two Premier League fixtures

Zaha can go past any full-back in the league if he gets them isolated. Brighton will need Montoya or Alzate to play extremely well - as Burn did against Traore - but they also have to provide extra defensive cover.

Dale Stephens is suspended but expect to see defender Adam Webster and holding such as Davy Propper or Yves Bissouma - if he plays - to provide the back-up.

Zaha has received some rough treatment this season and he could be targeted once again for this derby. Expect a few yellow cards and a few histrionics from Zaha - an intriguing battle awaits.