The latest weekend in the Premier League kicks off with one of the weirder derbies in the country when Brighton and Hove Albion host Crystal Palace in a match neither sets of fans will want to lose despite there being miles between the two sides geographically.
Both these sides are performing better than was expected of them before the season started and with no fears of relegation or anything like that they can just have a right good go at each other and hopefully entertain those of us who are watching on.
Where to watch
The match will be shown live and in full on the Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League channels. The build up to the game begins at 7pm with kick off at the Amex Stadium coming at 8pm.
Brighton and Hove Albion
I don’t know if I would call Brighton and Hove Albion surprise packages this season because if you look through a number of the key metrics last term they were at the level of their current league position but they couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net. They are still not maximising their chances and 20 goals in 19 matches is still nothing to shout about but what they are doing this term is scoring in the matches that matter hence they have avoided defeat in 15 of their 19 outings.
Brighton have only conceded 20 in those matches as well so it isn’t like they are getting opened up. That certainly isn’t a surprise. Not only are they organised well at the back but they have the majority of the ball so you wouldn’t expect them to concede many goals. Brighton go into this match having lost just one of their last seven in the Premier League and they made progress in the FA Cup last weekend as well so they are going nicely right now.
Although Crystal Palace are only in a similar league position to where they have been under Roy Hodgson in the past, I think things are looking up for the Eagles. You could argue there has been little improvement in their position in the table but the way they are going about their football is so much better. It is easier on the eye and in keeping with the modern way and you would imagine the longer they play their new style the better they will get in it.
One thing Palace do have under Patrick Vieira is a number of young and exciting players. He needs to find a way to integrate them into the side and they will be even more entertaining when that happens. Palace could do with a result here as they have only won two of their last 10 matches but they had a good win in the cup last week which they will hope will build their confidence. If they can find a win they could start looking for a top half finish which would be a decent achievement.
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Brighton and Hove Albion are going to be without skipper Lewis Dunk, Enock Mwepu and Yves Bissouma. The first two are both injured while the latter is away at the Africa Cup of Nations. Moises Caicedo has been recalled from a loan spell and may come into the side.
Crystal Palace are without the African trio of Wilfried Zaha, Jordan Ayew and Cheikhou Kouyate who are away with their countries while James McArthur and James Tomkins are both injured. Christian Benteke will be hoping to start.
If I was a draw backer I would probably be all over it here. These two sides have drawn 17 of their 39 matches this season and that includes the reverse fixture when Neal Maupay scored deep into injury time to earn a point for Brighton and Hove Albion and break the hearts of Crystal Palace. Both sides are without some key players for this match though which might make predicting their play a little less secure which means I’ll go with a couple of value bets.
Crystal Palace have been notorious over the last 4-5 seasons for being ordinary without Wilfried Zaha but I sense that could change now they have an equally exciting and effective option in Michael Olise. If you have followed our Premier League previews this term you will know I’m a massive fan of the youngster and I’m happy to get involved in a couple of bets involving him here. Olise came off the bench to score and assist against West Ham in their last Premier League game and registered a goal and an assist in the win over Millwall last week. With Jordan Ayew away Olise is almost certain to start and at 5/1 to score anytime and 9/2 for an anytime assist I’ll back both in the hope one lands if not both.
Back M.Olise to score anytime for a 1/10 stake at 6.00 with Bet365
Back M.Olise Anytime Assist for a 1/10 stake at 5.50 with Betfair
Back him here: