Crystal Palace v Leeds: Low scoring affair on the cards

Palace manager Roy Hodgson
Palace boss Roy Hodgson

Newly promoted Leeds visit Selhurst Park on Saturday in search of their third win in-a-row on the road but it's in the side markets where the value lies according to Steve

“Odds in excess of 2.56/4 about Leeds are certainly tempting but there’s better value in the side markets.”

Crystal Palace v Leeds
Saturday November 7, 15:00
Live on BT Sports Box Office

Negative Palace tough to break down

Crystal Palace were in free fall in the summer, ending last season with seven straight defeats before drawing their final game, but they began this season nicely, edging past Southampton 1-0 on the opening weekend before beating Manchester United 3-1 at Old Trafford.

The Eagles have stuttered since though, winning just one of their next five in the Premier League, away at floundering Fulham 2-1, following back-to-back defeats to Everton at home (1-2) and Chelsea away (0-4).

A draw at home to Brighton, that they didn't really deserve, followed and they were beaten again last weekend, 2-0 at Wolves, where Luka Milivojević saw red in the 86th minute.

Palace manager, Roy Hodgson, felt the sending off was harsh so it was subsequently appealed but to no avail and he'll be a big miss for the home side on Saturday.

Palace are a tough watch. They're very defensive, often looking to score on the break, but if they do manage to score first, they're excellent at shutting up shop as they demonstrated in their last home game...

After a weak 19th minute penalty decision went their way, duly converted by Wilfred Zaha, against Brighton, they held out right up until the 90th minute when Alexis Mac Allister equalised but what struck me was the negativity displayed after that.

Brighton's Lewis Dunk was sent off in injury time after a reckless challenge so the visitors were down to ten men but when the ball ran out of play and to Hodgson on the touchline, he made no attempt to get it back in-play, instead choosing to hold on to the ball to waste a few more seconds. Should that be the actions of a manager whose team are drawing at home to a team below them in the table that are down to ten men?

The Seagulls deserved more than a point at Selhurst Park that day yet they've subsequently drawn at home to West Brom and lost away at Spurs so the form isn't up to much.

Bielsa's boys in search of third away win in-a-row

Leeds have had a fascinating start to life in the Premier League and with three wins, three defeats and a draw, they have the same record and number of points as Palace.

Marcelo Bielsa shout 1280.jpg

They lost a roller-coaster game 4-3 against Liverpool away on the opening weekend of the season before beating Fulham in an equally crazy match a week later by the same score but more mundane performances followed. The Whites beat Sheffield United away 1-0 and they drew 1-1 at home to Manchester City before they were fairly beaten 1-0 by Wolves.

A Patrick Bamford hattrick saw them beat Aston Villa away 3-0 but they were brought back down to earth with a bump last weekend when Leicester City ran out comfortable 4-1 winners at Elland Road, despite Leeds enjoying long spells of possession.

The defeats to Wolves and Leicester were the first back-to-back losses at home under Marcelo Bielsa but it's a different story on the road and Leeds are in search of their third Premier League away win in-a-row.

The Whites will be without summer signing, Rodrigo, who's tested positive for COVID, as well as influential midfielder, Kalvin Philips (shoulder injury) but deadline day signing Raphinha could make an appearance.

Unwelcome century soon to be reached

Odds in excess of 2/1 about the home side may look appealing at first glance but the Eagles are extremely reliant on Zaha, who's five Premier League goals have been worth seven points this season, so if he doesn't shine they're in trouble, and their record at Selhurst Park is far from great.

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 their style of play and it's not a new trend. As many as 49% of Palace's all-time Premier League losses (99 of 201) have come at home and that's the highest such ratio in the competition. Defeat to Leeds on Saturday will bring up a most unwelcome but inevitable century.

Although this looks like a tight game on paper, the draw makes little appeal at 3.55/2. Only 19% of Premier League games have ended in a deadlock so far this season and odds of around 6/4 about the visitors looks the way to go in the outright market.

ZahaPalace1280.jpg

Although the Whites are only ahead of Palace on goal difference at present, they're a far better outfit, as some of the Premier League side markets demonstrate. For example, the last price matched on Leeds in the Top 10 Finish market was 2.3811/8. For Palace it was 9.89/1. And the Eagles, who have been matched at a low of 2.26/5 in the Relegation market, are trading at 5.85/1 for the drop, whereas the last price matched on Leeds in that market was 15.5. They may be sat together in the table at present but they're on very different trajectories and the separation could well begin on Saturday with an away win. Odds in excess of 2.56/4 about Leeds are certainly tempting but there's better value in the side markets...

Side markets offer the value

Although both teams have scored in two of the three matches played at Selhurst Park this season both teams found the net in only 37% of Crystal Palace home games last season and goals were really scarce. In the 19 matches played there, three goals were scored only twice and only once were there more than three scored.

We've seen quite a mixed bag from Leeds in the Premier League so far. There were 14 goals scored in their first two games alone and late Leicester strikes pushed the tally up to five in that encounter last weekend but they've also been involved in a couple of one nils and they drew 1-1 with City. And those three results are more in line with how they performed in the Championship last season.

Only 35% of Leeds matches last season saw three or more goals scored and Under in the Over/Under 2.5 Goals market here looks well worth taking at 1.910/11 given that stat and the fact that there have been less than three goals scored in 10 of the last 12 Premier League games played at Selhurst Park.

Both teams have scored in 54% of all Premier League matches played so far this season and that's 3% more than last season's average. Presumably on the strength of those figures, Yes is odds-on in the Both Teams to Score market here, but if we look at these two teams in isolation. a strong argument in favour of No at odds-against emerges.

So far this season, both teams have found the net in four of Palace's seven games and in four of Leeds' seven and they had an identical record last season too. Both teams scored in only 37% of all matches involving the two. That's low enough to get my attention in a game that looks likely to be tight and anything north of 2.111/10 for No looks very fair.

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