Match Preview – Brighton v Crystal Palace

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Crystal Palace – the club
Under the astute management of former England boss Woy Hodgson, Crystal Palace have been on a bit of a rise through the league since our last meeting back in November having moved from bottom of the table all the way up to 14th. If you’ve forgotten what happened on the pitch that day, we don’t blame you as it was more boring than a James Blunt soft. Off it however we had graffiti in the city, ticketless fans storming the turnstiles leaving other supporters with tickets stranded outside and fireworks and pyros. That makes another derby game between Brighton and Palace with the added complications of a rail strike, live television coverage and the first ever use of the video assistant referee for a domestic game in England a potential nightmare for both clubs and the police. Will there be further trouble? You can bet on it. Just try not to be completely overwhelmed and then lay the blame on Palace fans with knives and knuckle dusters this time please, Sussex Police.

Crystal Palace – the place
The Crystal Palace was of course famously built by everyone’s favourite German after Pascal Gross, Prince Albert. It originally stood in Hyde Park where it held The Great Exhibition of 1851, before being transported and rebuilt in Sydenham. It stood here from 1854 – giving its name to the surrounding area, the football club and the athletics stadium – until 1936 when it was destroyed by fire. For once, this was not due to rioting Croydon locals stupidly setting fire to their own town.

Crystal Palace – the people
Palace understandably aren’t the most fashionable of clubs and that is reflected in the fact that their celebrity fans extend about as far as Jo Brand, the bloke who plays Jay from The Inbetweeners and the journalist who presents Sunday Supplement. No Fatboy Slim, are they?

A good WeAreBrighton.com memory of Crystal Palace at home
For at least our generation, Palace have long been the dominant side in the rivalry. In fact, we’ve only ever seen one home victory over them, that 3-0 win on St Patrick’s Day 2013. Seeing as we nominated that as a good memory for the league game, we’ll instead go for seeing Dave Beasant lying on the floor of a kebab shop on West Street with a can of beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other after our 0-0 Withdean draw in March 2003. They don’t make goalkeepers like him anymore – except for Casper Ankergren, obviously.

A bad WeAreBrighton.com memory of Crystal Palace at home
Jobi McAnuff scoring a last minute winner at Withdean? Palace being the first visiting team to win a league game at the Amex? That 2-0 play off semi final defeat? Take your pick.

Played for both
We had a couple of players on loan from Palace in the 00’s with goalkeeper Scott Flinders signing towards the end of 2006-07 when Michel Kuipers suffered his annual long term injury and Calvin Andrew playing a big part in Russell Slade’s Great Escape side of 2009. Others to have represented both in the last decade include Simon Rodger and Paul McShane while Steve Coppell was briefly cured of his infamous disease during a year in charge at Withdean.

Dangermen
Given that both sides will be prioritising Premier League safety, it’s likely that both Chris Hughton and Hodgson will send out their stiffs. That makes it hard to know who to expect to shine, but one man likely to play is Julian Speroni and he always seems to have a good game against the Albion. Thankfully, it won’t be like an episode of Dancing on Ice as that diving runt Wilfried Zaha should be rested.

Betting
With a second choice backline containing players as good as Tim Krul, Connor Goldson and Uwe Hunemeir, both teams to score no has some value. Sam Baldock should also make his long awaited return to the starting 11 and is a decent price to score anytime.

Prediction
It is going to be tight as there won’t be much difference in quality between both sides stiffs, so we’re going for either a narrow 1-0 win for the Albion or the nightmare of a 0-0 draw and a trip to Selhurst in a week’s time. Hope your injections are up to date if that turns out to be the case.

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