It's a surprisingly fiery rivalry between Crystal Palace and Brighton, and Paul Higham thinks the Eagles will emerge with three points from the M23 derby.
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Crystal Palace v Brighton (1230 GMT - Sky Sports PL)
It’s a bizarre rivalry to some but a very real and fierce one to both sets of fans in the M23 derby, as two sides separated by 46 miles with seemingly no other link prepare for what should be another feisty encounter at Selhurst Park.
A rivalry born in the late 1970s when the sides met five times in a year is still full of fire both on and off the field – as familiarity continues to breed contempt this will be a fifth meeting in two seasons.
Brighton won the reverse fixture 3-1 in December despite playing with ten men for an hour after Shane Duffy was sent off, and there’s always a definitive, sometimes bordering on nasty, edge to this game.
On form, both sides would probably prefer this fixture to be played on the south coast, with Brighton winning just twice on the road this season while Palace, despite their recent run of form, have won just three times in front of their own fans.
Palace fans have also scored the fewest goals in the league this season, but after three wins in the last five and with their tails very much up, they rightly go into this as favourites.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 2-1 Brighton (Sky Bet odds: 8/1)
Palace have a poor home record, but Brighton have an even worse away one, so it's hard to get a handle on who will be less awful in this fixture! Palace have certainly been playing better than Brighton of late, moving above them in the table, and that extra confidence can just carry them over the line.
Best bet: Palace to win & under 3.5 goals at 7/5
Palace did hit four at Leicester and three at Burnley, but playing on the counter away from home is arguably easier for a team like Palace than trying to force the issue at home, and Brighton have certainly proved capable of defending and keeping things tight. Palace have enough to win, but it shouldn't be a landslide.
Stats: Over 50+ bookings at 5/4
There should be plenty of action in this one, even given the early kick-off time, and with both managers calling for cool heads that signals they're wary of players getting lost in the atmosphere of the game. There should be bookings.
Crystal Palace v Brighton and Hove Albion - Opta stats
- Crystal Palace have lost just one of their last nine home meetings with Brighton in all competitions (W6 D2), going down 0-1 in October 2005 in the Championship.
- Brighton are looking to do the league double over Crystal Palace for the first time since 1983-84 in the second tier.
- Crystal Palace have won just one of their last six home Premier League games (D2 L3). Indeed, the Eagles have won the lowest proportion of their points in home games in the competition this season (39% - 13/33).
- Brighton are looking to secure consecutive Premier League victories for the first time since December, when they beat Huddersfield and Crystal Palace.
- Brighton have lost five of their seven Premier League matches in London (W1 D1) – prior to this run, the Seagulls had lost just five of their previous 30 league matches in London.
- There have been 25 goals scored in 14 Premier League games at Crystal Palace’s Selhurst Park (F10 A15), fewer than at any other ground in the competition this season.
- Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha has scored five goals in nine appearances against Brighton in all competitions – against no side has he scored more.
- Brighton’s Glenn Murray has scored in each of his last three appearances against Crystal Palace in all competitions for the Seagulls.
- Brighton manager Chris Hughton has won six matches against Crystal Palace in all competitions – against no side has he won more in his career (also six against Reading and Leeds United).
- After a run of 13 Premier League games without a single goal or assist, Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha has been involved in six goals in his last six games in the competition (5 goals, 1 assist).