Brighton v Crystal Palace: Draw looks likeliest result between rivals

Recent encounters between Brighton and Crystal Palace have been very tight, which leads Dan Fitch to back the draw in the M23 derby.

Brighton need to preserve rediscovered form

Brighton will be looking to continue their fine form when they host Crystal Palace in the M23 derby.

On a geographical basis there is no way that these teams should be rivals, but the animosity between the respective players and fans is real, after tensions flared between the clubs in the 1970s. Regardless of form, this is always a tricky fixture and having only just got back to winning ways, Brighton need to keep their cool.

The Seagulls went on a 12 match run without a win in all competitions (D9 L3), which came to an end on Boxing Day with a 2-0 victory against Brentford. Since then they've drawn 1-1 away at Chelsea, won 3-2 at Everton and then at the weekend, beat West Brom 2-1 in the FA Cup.

Brighton needed extra time to beat West Brom, which could lead to some fatigue. Enock Mwepu picked up a knock in that match and is a doubt to face Palace, which could leave Brighton light in central midfield at a time when Yves Bissouma is away at AFCON. Lewis Dunk is rated as an outside chance to play, as he looks to recover from a knee injury.

Palace can now cope without Zaha

Crystal Palace have had a good warm up for this match, with an FA Cup tie over the weekend against another of their biggest rivals.

Patrick Vieira's team made the short trip across south east London to face Millwall on Saturday. They had to come from behind to beat the Championship side 2-1, with Michael Olise and Jean-Philippe Mateta scoring the goals.

Eberechi Eze also played, with Christian Benteke and Odsonne Edouard starting on the bench. Wilfried Zaha is away at the African Cup of Nations and historically Palace have struggled when the forward is absent. These days it feels like less of an issue, due to the wealth of attacking options available to Vieira.

Zaha is one of three Crystal Palace players at AFCON, with Cheikhou Kouyate and Jordan Ayew also on international duty. James McArthur is the only other unavailable player, with the midfielder suffering from a hamstring injury.

Rivals have had close encounters in recent times

Brighton are the 2.16 favourites, with the draw at 3.4 and a Crystal Palace win at 4.0.

That price looks a little too short for Brighton when you consider that they could be light in midfield and have not beaten Crystal Palace in any of their last five attempts (D3 L2). Of those five games, three ended as 1-1 draws, while the two Palace wins came courtesy of a one-goal margin, although the last of those was some achievement going on the expected goals.

Backing the draw at 3.4 therefore makes sense, at least from a trading perspective. Brighton are in the most consistent form, but Palace have proved themselves capable of taking points from anyone in the Premier League this season.

Both teams to score landing regularly

The five games without a Brighton win, have all came since Graham Potter was appointed as manager in the summer of 2019. Both teams to score has landed on four occasions and can be backed at 2.02.

Under 2.5 goals has also been successful in four of those five games and is priced at 1.74. With three of the last five games ending 1-1, you can back that outcome at 7.4 in the correct score market.

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