The latest chapter in what has become known as the A23 derby, being the road that links them, will take place when Crystal Palace host Brighton at Selhurst Park in the Premier League on Monday (2.45pm ET).
It is a slightly strange derby. While it is true that for some time Palace were the nearest professional club to Brighton, they don’t share the intense geographical proximity of most local rivalries. Neither are there any real ideological clashes between the supporter bases.
A rivalry did start to take shape in the 1970s, when both clubs climbed up to the top flight in unison and has carried through from that point to the present day. After six meetings in the Championship earlier in the decade, Monday’s match will be the fifth league derby since Brighton’s promotion to the Premier League in 2017.
It comes at an opportune time in the season, with the two teams separated by just three points after both making very solid starts to the season. Palace are up in 10th, while Brighton are two places back in 12th. With an equal goal difference at this time, a repeat of last year’s victory (2-1) at Selhurst Park would see Brighton leapfrog Palace in the table.
That isn’t a result that Palace will give up lightly. There may be a certain cap on what can be achieved with the approach utilized by their head coach Roy Hodgson, but he has shown himself to be apt at putting together very solid mid-table Premier League teams. Palace have finished 11th and 12th in his two seasons at the helm to date and appear on course for a similar finish this time around.
Hodgson’s side are certainly not the most exciting or incisive attacking force. Only Watford have scored less goals than their total of 14 so far this season, and no one is taking less shots per match. That is balanced by the fourth best defensive record in the division. Palace’s matches average less goals (2.00) than those of any other Premier League team, and they have been able to resolve enough of them in their favor to move into the top 10.
Indeed, Palace come into Monday’s match of two wins and a draw in their last three league matches, all of which were achieved without conceding. They were even slightly disappointed to draw 0-0 away at bottom side Watford last weekend. With a favorable run of fixtures against sides currently beneath them in the table, including two of the bottom three, into the New Year, they might soon have a more stable looking top-half position to defend.
While many would have predicted Palace to be mid-table finishers, Brighton were more fancied for relegation before the season got underway. They narrowly avoided the drop under Chris Hughton last time around and one set of stats gave them a 40% chance of being relegated before things kicked off. A seven-match winless run after their opening day win over Watford seemed to back that up.
Brighton have since started to turn things around. The style of play under new coach Graham Potter is much more proactive than that practiced under Hughton. It also looks to be more effective both at a top-line and underlying level. Four wins and a draw across Brighton’s last nine fixtures, including a 2-1 win away at Arsenal, have seen them rise to their current position. Their likelihood of relegation is now at just 10%.
There are sure to be some further stumbling blocks along the way given the degree to which Potter has changed the team’s approach, but there is also plenty of opportunity for further refinement and growth. In many ways, he was a risky appointment, but it does seem to be coming off for them.
Our Preview’s Crystal Palace vs Brighton Betting Tips, Picks & Predictions Verdict
It is Palace who can be expected to come away with all three points on Monday. They have shown themselves to be pretty adept at seeing off teams below them in the table so far this season.
They have the sort of compact and well-drilled approach that should be capable of picking through any holes in Brighton’s inchoate system. As for a bet with the superior sportsbooks for customers from the United States of America, these are USAbetting’s Crystal Palace vs Brighton predictions for this preview: