Jamie Carragher makes ‘top six’ call on absent Yves Bissouma ahead of out-of-sorts Wilfried Zaha
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher believes the absence of Yves Bissouma will be keenly felt by Brighton and will impact them more than Wilfried Zaha’s from the Palace team.
Bissouma, who continues to be linked with a move away from Albion this January transfer window, is away on international duty with Mali at the AFCON, while Palace are missing attacking duo Zaha and Ghanaian Jordan Ayew.
Zaha has been the stand-out performer for Palace over the last few seasons but this term he has not quite hit the high notes.
Conor Gallagher has been the main man at Selhurst this season with Christian Benteke and Odsonne Édouard also providing an attacking threat.
Zaha’s influence has diminished but at Brighton Bissouma has been the star performer in Graham Potter’s midfield. The 25-year-old provides power and control to Brighton’s engine room and has attracted interest from Aston Villa, Liverpool, Man United and Arsenal.
“Zaha at Crystal Palace this season has not been at his best,” said Carragher. “If he was at his best you would say he would be the bigger miss.
“Previously he ‘was’ Crystal Palace but I feel there is more to them this season.
“With Brighton and Bissouma, he is one of those midfielders outside the top six you feel could make that move and play for the top clubs.”
Brighton are also missing their skipper Lewis Dunk who continues to struggle with a knee injury and Enock Mwepu is out with a hamstring injury sustained in their FA Cup win at West Brom last week.
Centre-back Adam Webster is fit to return after sitting out at The Hawthorns as a precaution, while Seagulls midfielder Moises Caicedo could make his top-flight debut having been recalled from a loan spell at Belgian club Beerschot.
Crystal Palace will be without five experienced players with defender James Tomkins the latest to join the treatment table.
Tomkins is unavailable for a “couple of weeks” due to an unspecified injury according to boss Patrick Vieira, who was already missing James McArthur with a hamstring issue and the trio of Cheikhou Kouyate, Jordan Ayew and Wilfried Zaha due to their African Cup of Nations commitments.
First-choice goalkeeper Vicente Guaita, who dislocated a finger last month, sat out last weekend’s 2-1 win at Millwall in the FA Cup but is expected to return.
Brighton provisional squad: Sanchez, Scherpen, Lamptey, Duffy, Burn, Veltman, Webster, Cucurella, Roberts, Turns, Offiah, Gross, Alzate, March, Caicedo, Mac Allister, Moder, Lallana, Leonard, Trossard, Maupay, Welbeck, Ferguson.
Crystal Palace provisional squad: Guaita, Ward, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell, Gallagher, Hughes, Schlupp, Olise, Benteke, Edouard, Butland, Clyne, Kelly, Ferguson, Riedewald, Milivojevic, Eze, Mateta, Rak-Sakyi, Matthews, Wells-Morrison, Banks.