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Brighton v Crystal Palace: Murray’s injury hands Seagulls advantage

| 13.05.2013

Brighton host Crystal Palace at the Amex Stadium in their Championship playoff semi-final second-leg with the tie poised on a knife-edge after the rivals played out a 0-0 draw at Selhurst Park. 

Nothing could be picked between the two teams in South London from their opening exchange, but Brighton look the most likely to reach Wembley with a home win priced at 10/11.

Palace can be backed at 3/1 for victory, but their chances look slimmer after 30-goal top scorer Glenn Murray suffered suspected cruciate knee ligament damage during the first-leg.

Murray’s 30 goals in the division this term have been crucial to Palace making the playoffs, and represent almost half of the total goals Ian Holloway’s side scored (73) during the regular season.

With Murray out, Manchester United-bound Wilfried Zaha takes on an increasingly important role in the Eagles team, and he will hope to ease the pain of his strike partner’s absence by finding the net anytime at a price of 3/1.

Veteran forward Kevin Phillips will probably earn a start in place of Murray, and his big-game experience makes his odds of 7/1 to score first attractive indeed.

However, Brighton’s form suggests they will make the final, having remained unbeaten in their last 10 Championship games. While another draw between these two sides can be backed at 12/5, supporting the hosts to win to nil at 21/10 looks more worthwhile.

This fixture during the regular league season at the Amex ended in a comprehensive 3-0 home win to Brighton, and although Palace beat their rivals by the same scoreline in the corresponding match at Selhurst Park, it proves the influence of playing on your own patch.

Brighton’s victory and clean sheet against the Eagles in March was achieved thanks to two goals from Leonardo Ulloa and one from David Lopez. And going by Ulloa’s goalscoring from since his January switch from Almeria in Spain, he is the man to back to fire the home team to victory.

Ulloa scored on his debut at home against Arsenal in the FA Cup, and has gone on to record a tally of 10 goals in 19 outings for Brighton. The 26-year-old is a composed finisher, and should be considered at 5/1 to break the deadlock and 6/4 to strike anytime.

The Seagulls conceded just 17 goals from 23 home games in the division this campaign, and may record a fifth clean sheet in seven matches by blocking out Palace at a price of 7/5.

The visitors are out at 15/8 to progress to the final, but while Brighton’s 2/5 odds aren’t the most profitable they are reflective of their serious chance that should be seized to earn a 90-minute shot at making the Premier League.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.



Jamie Dickenson