Saturday, 12.30pm, BT Sport 1
Forget the Clasico – let’s get stuck into the M23 Derby!
They don’t come bigger than the M23 Derby and this weekend is no different! This is a massive game for both teams especially Brighton. They were tipped this season to be a lot higher in the league with Graham Potter in charge.
He rose to prominence in Sweden after taking Ostersund from the fourth tier of Danish football to their equivalent of the Premier League. His attacking style of play with the high pressing game caught the eye of data-driven Brighton chairman Tony Bloom, who went from a dinosaur in Chris Hughton to the analytically sound Potter, so you’d expect the league table to recognise the change.
Hughton led Brighton to 17th in the league but if you looked at their expected goals numbers they could easily have been relegated as only Huddersfield performed worse last season. Brighton currently sit in 15th in the league but on expected goals they’re 11th, which suggests that they are a much better side under the coaching of Potter. They just aren’t taking the chances they’re creating.
Roy Hodgson, on the other hand, is finished. He’ll surely retire at the end of this season and has had a relatively good career. His style of football is very similar to Mourinho and looks out of date in the modern game. Palace play counter-attacking, boring football, there is no emphasis on pressing the opposition high up the pitch or playing out from the back, two of the most important features of today’s football.
This really shows up when you look at their expected goals. The stats say they should’ve scored 25 goals this season.
That’s is the second-worst in the league after Newcastle’s 21.
This is down to a combination of a couple of things, Hodgson’s style of play doesn’t create enough chances but even when they create chances their strikers just don’t have enough quality to convert them. Christian Benteke is expected to start this game, which says it all really. He’s scored two goals in his last 34 Premier League games and the 30 million that they paid Liverpool for his services now looks like the worst bet since I backed Watford +1 against City in that 8-0 spanking!
Purely based on the xG I wouldn’t put anyone off backing Brighton to win this game. A more interesting bet is Brighton’s Ezequiel Schelotto to be carded.
He’ll be playing on the side of Wilf Zaha, the second most fouled player in the league behind Jack Grealish. Factor in that Schelotto is a 6ft 2in right-back who turns like a bus and you can see why 7/2 on him to be booked appeals.
Don’t expect a goal-fest here but have a go of the Argentine at that price and a small bet on Brighton’s attacking play to make the difference at Evens or better.
*All odds correct at time of publication