Brighton defender Lewis Dunk has called for calm from his teammates ahead of tonight’s clash between the Seagulls and Crystal Palace, as both clubs look to secure the bragging rights over one another.
The 27-year-old is no stranger to the intensity of the encounter, having played in them regularly since 2011 but after being sent off in Brighton’s 3-0 defeat at Selhurst Park back on 2012, Dunk knows better than anyone the importance of keeping your head when the pressure is on.
For all the talk of rivalry, both teams will see a victory as another big step towards Premier League survival at the start of the notoriously busy festive period. For clubs of our stature, top flight survival is always the first milestone to tick off once the season gets underway and with our hosts already sitting on an impressive 18 points from 14 games, a win would take them over halfway towards their target with plenty of room to spare.
Chris Hughton’s men tasted victory away at Huddersfield on Saturday but thankfully Palace also find themselves in decent form, having outplayed Manchester United at Old Trafford when drawing 0-0 before absolutely mauling a woeful Burnley side in a 2-0 victory over the weekend.
Form is known to go out of the window in games of this nature, all signs point towards it being a decent contest between two sides who will back themselves to come away with a win. Hodgson’s men amassed a startling 29 shots at goal against the Clarets, sealing the victory with an absolute screamer from Andros Townsend whilst Brighton’s triumph over David Wagner’s Terriers hinted at a growing sense of Premier League know-how from the south coast outfit.
As a supporter, the nerves well and truly kicked as soon as I opened my eyes this morning but I wouldn’t have it any other way.