Friday, 7.45pm (Live on Sky Sports 1)
BITTER rivals Crystal Palace and Brighton meet at Selhurst Park for the first leg of a potentially enthralling two-legged playoff semi-final.
Crystal Palace ended a barren run of nine games without victory on the last day of the league season by beating – and relegating – Peterborough with a 3-2 comeback victory.
It was a timely return to form for Ian Holloway's side but whether they can keep that going against old foes Brighton could be doubtful. Striker Glenn Murray remains the league's most prolific marksman after scoring a penalty against Posh to finish the regular season on 29 goals but that was his first in nine.
Murray is particularly influential to the Eagles hopes at home in the first leg as is the creativity of Manchester United-bound Wilfried Zaha. If he and Murray can replicate their form earlier in the campaign Palace will be dangerous, while their 52 goals at home was the most scored in the division by a cushion of six.
Brighton on the other hand are definitely in good form, with their 2-0 win over Wolves at the weekend (which saw the West Midlands outfit slip through the down into League One) their fourth win in five. Gus Poyet's side are unbeaten in nine outings, keeping five clean sheets in the process.
The Seagulls may struggle to hold out a fired-up Palace side away from home but should be backed to find the net themselves after hitting 10 in their last three and average of over 3.3 goals a game.
Young Kazenga LuaLua has come into goalscoring form at the perfect time of the season with three strikes in as many games and if he is picked from a strong forward line also possessing Leonardo Ulloa, Will Buckley and Ashley Barnes then he could add to his double against Wolves.
While these two sides both produced 3-0 home wins against one another during the league season a repeat result for Palace here looks unlikely given Brighton's form. However, a draw is worth backing at 3.2 with both teams to score a more conservative 1.83 bet.
Back Draw in Crystal Palace v Brighton at 3.2
Back Both Teams To Score at 1.83