Crystal Palace v Brighton
Sunday October 18, 14:00
Live on Sky Sports
Downward trending Palace need to get back on track
Having finished last season terribly, losing seven in-a-row before drawing their final game, Crystal Palace began this season well, edging past Southampton in the opening week before beating Manchester United 3-1 at Old Trafford but the Eagles have lost both of their last two Premier League matches.
League leaders, Everton, took all three points away from Selhurst Park in their next game, after one of those ridiculous handball penalty decisions went the way of the Toffees. Richarlison's 40th minute spot-kick made it 2-1 and that's how it ended. Roy Hodgson's charges were then unlucky enough to have to go to Stamford Bridge next time out when Frank Lampard would have been looking for a big reaction.
Having fought back from 3-0 down away at West Brom to draw 3-3 and having been knocked out of the EFL Cup on penalties by Spurs, Lampard's Chelsea were raring to go when they took on Palace and although the Eagles held out until the second half, the Blues ran out comfortable 4-0 victors.
The international break came at an opportune time and a home win against their big rivals, Brighton, would be a great way to get back on track but Palace's general trend is worrying.
Seagulls enjoying life on the road
The break came at a good time for Brighton too. Like Palace, the Seagulls have lost both of their last two Premier League games and they've got a bit more in common with Sunday's hosts this season too...
Brighton have faced three of the four teams that the Eagles have played. They lost 3-1 at home to Chelsea on the opening weekend, were cruelly beaten by Manchester United at home when the Red Devils scored a penalty to make it 3-2, after the final whistle! And in their last game before the break, they were beaten 4-2 by Everton at Goodison Park.
Given the way the Toffees are playing, there's absolutely no shame in getting nothing from a visit to Goodison Park and that was the first time Brighton had lost on the road after the restart.
Since losing 3-1 at Bournemouth way back in January, the Seagulls had put up a run of eight Premier League away games without defeat and they'd won three of their last four. They've also found the net in 11 of their last 14 on the road.
Eagles looking vulnerable at home
This is a tight looking renewal of the M23 derby and the market is struggling to split them. Historically, Brighton have had the edge with 40 wins to Palace's 37 and there have been 26 draws since they first met in Division Three (South) in 1920.
The Seagulls did the double over Palace in the 2018/19 season but they picked up just one point from the two encounters last term and having won 1-0 at the Amex Stadium in February, the Eagles are looking to secure consecutive league victories against Brighton for the first time since September 2011.
Palace lost eight of 19 at home last term and they picked up only three more points at Selhurst Park than they did on the road. That makes sense given the stats suggest their style of play makes them as likely to win away as they are at home. The Eagles have the lowest average possession percentage (just over 31%) in the Premier League this season and they've also played the highest percentage of their passes long (19%).
Palace look vulnerable and given their fair record at Selhurst Park and their very decent form on the road this year, anything north of 2.89/5 looks fair about the visitors.
Current season stats suggest goals are on the agenda
Looking at the side markets, Wilfred Zaha has scored more goals against Brighton (six) than he has against any other opponent and Brighton's Neal Maupay is looking to score in his fourth consecutive league appearance, and his fourth in five on the road, so they're the two to concentrate on in the To Score market.
Both teams found the net in only 37% of Crystal Palace home games last season and goals were scarce. In the 19 matches played at Selhurst Park, three goals were scored only twice and only once were there more than three scored.
Those stats suggest No at odds-against in the Both Teams to Score market is more than fair and it explains why Under in the Over/Under 2.5 Goals is odds-on but given the amount of goals we're witnessing so far this season, playing No and/or Under in those two markets could be a mistake.
Throughout the whole of last season there were at least three goals scored in only 52% of Premier League games and the average number of goals per game was 2.72. So far this term, 68% of matches have seen at least three goals scored and the average number of goals per game is a whopping 3.79.
Given those stats, and the fact that the last three Premier League games featuring Palace, and the last five involving Brighton have produced at least three goals, I'm happy to take the 2.35/4 about Over in the Over/Under 2.5 Goals market.