Crystal Palace 6/4 to upset form team Brighton in play-off derby

The reasons for Crystal Palace’s bitter rivalry with Brighton – 45 miles away – may seem opaque to many fans, but their clashes retain all the rip-up-the-form-book qualities of the most fiercely contested derbies – luckily for Palace. Brighton – unbeaten in nine games – are in the best form of any of the play-off combatants, but the Eagles can put a halt to that with a home win – about which Coral go 6/4.

The sides’ both won their respective home derbies 3-0 this season, but both matches have acted as harbingers of runs of demoralising form for Crystal Palace. When Palace beat Brighton at Selhurst Park in December they went on a run of one win in 10 games, whilst their defeat in the corresponding fixture down on the South Coast was the first game of another poor run of form – this time yielding one win in nine games.

The Eagles came in for some fierce criticism for the tame manner in which they were defeated at the Amex Stadium, where some players were still unaware of the extent of the mutual antipathy between the sides’ support. A more intense and committed Crystal Palace can be expected at Selhurst, with Palace skipper Mille Jedinak telling the Croydon Guardian “the ones that weren’t up to scratch with the rivalry know the importance of it now.”

Only champions Cardiff had a better home record than Crystal Palace in the Championship regular season, with the 4-0 defeat to Birmingham that was the nadir of their late season slump the only Selhurst Park loss incurred since the season’s opening day. Given the Eagles have picked up one win in their last 15 road games (in eight of which they failed to score), the importance of a home victory against their bitter rivals is magnified even further.

The excesses of Ian Holloway’s attacking-football-uber-alles tactical “philosophy” have seen seven of the Eagles’ last eight games at their SE29 home produce in excess of 2.5 goals and the fixture can be backed to deliver over that amount at 11/10 with Coral.