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Brighton’s impressive start to the season has been in total contrast to their early form last season when they failed to win several games that they should have and found themselves close to the foot of the Premier League table.
However, they have arguably been fortunate this term to record four wins out of five and have catapulted themselves into the top four at this early stage of the season. Manager Graham Potter was due a bit of luck following two bottom six finishes in each of his two seasons in charge at the Amex Stadium despite attempts to play brave and attacking football.
The Seagulls appear to be carrying all the momentum into Monday’s M23 Derby at Selhurst Park and have won both of their two away games courtesy of late winners. Crystal Palace, on the other hand, still appear to be finding their feet under Patrick Vieira and have endured a difficult start to the term.
Palace were well beaten by Liverpool and Chelsea, while they failed to create many chances of note in a forgettable 0-0 draw with Brentford. However, they did record an impressive 2-2 draw at West Ham and also demolished an abysmal Tottenham challenge, making it incredibly difficult to draw any patterns from Vieira’s first five league games in charge.
Having said that, there have been more negative signs than positive, and they may just fall short against high-flying Brighton.
Potter’s men boast one of the better defences in the league, but there have been worrying signs. They were very lucky to only concede one goal against Leicester last weekend as the Brendan Rodgers-led side pressed for an equaliser, meanwhile Everton cut through them with ease in what has proved to be Brighton’s only defeat so far this season.
They also conceded on the opening day against a Burnley side that has managed to score just three goals in five games. For their part, Palace have shown some positive signs up front, especially through their new signings Conor Gallagher and Odsonne Edouard.
Both have already notched Premier League braces for their new club and have the ability to hurt a Brighton defence that has proved fragile at times this season. The Seagulls may have to score twice to come away from this derby with all three points and they are well capable of doing so against a Palace outfit that has conceded two or more goals on three occasions this season.
Neal Maupay has finished as Brighton’s top goalscorer in each of his two seasons at the Amex, but has yet to score more than 10 Premier League goals in a single season. His quickfire start to the current campaign suggests that he will push past that barrier though. The Frenchman has netted three goals in his opening five games, winning four points for his side.
He has not scored against Palace in his last three league appearances against them, while Brighton are winless in their last four games against their bitter rivals. Maupay and Brighton could use a timely return to goalscoring form in the M23 Derby.
Joel Ward has been Palace’s most ill-disciplined player at this early stage of the season, picking up two bookings in his opening five games, so he is among the most likely to be carded in Monday night’s clash with Brighton.
The right-back was Palace’s third-most carded player last season behind Luka Milivojevic and Wilfried Zaha. Milivojevic, while always reliable to pick up a yellow card, has barely featured for Palace this season, while Zaha is much more difficult to gauge due to the fact that he is a forward.
But, Ward will be part of a Palace backline that will have to do a lot of defending against a tricky Brighton attack in the heat of a derby day. He has featured in every minute of Palace’s Premier League campaign so far, and could easily enter the referee’s notebook for the third time this season.
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Football tips tonight
- THOMMO & THE TRADER: Phil Thompson and Jason Murphy pick their Crystal Palace v Brighton punts
- ACCA: Tap in our 24/1 four-fold for Monday’s matches
- Score your football betting preview and tips at Paddy Power News
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