Blogs & Opinion


Features:

Recent Comments:

Gary Bennett on Reading crashers

"Leeds have thrown away too many games this season with our dodgy defence conceding too many soft goals.Scoring goals has not been a problem and i think the play offs are still there to ... " View all comments

Peter Beagrie says Brighton defence gives them edge over Crystal Palace

Features - Peter Beagrie Posted 9th May 2013 view comments

You can't call this a local derby, but the intensity on show when Crystal Palace play Brighton is there for all to see.

The last time these two met at Selhurst Park it finished 3-0 to Palace - but in the return fixture they lost 3-0 so there aren't too many clues for us there. Both have players of tremendous ability in the final third and this could be a case of which side defends better.

Orlandi & Lopez: Brighton are the form horses

Orlandi & Lopez: Brighton are the form horses

In that respect, I can understand why Brighton are seen as the favourites.

Palace lost their first three games this season and Dougie Freedman did an incredible job to turn things around and get them into the top six. However, under Ian Holloway they ended up limping into the play-offs with one win in 10; failing to score in six of those games. They lost their mojo to a degree as defensive frailties came back to haunt them.

Brighton should have plenty of confidence going into a two-legged clash with their arch-rivals because they are the form team. They are better-equipped to win the tie over two legs because they combine solidity with potency.

Peter Beagrie
Quotes of the week

They've had an unbelievable season because everybody thought they would drop out of the top six with sides like Bolton and Nottingham Forest seen as bigger clubs. They should be very proud of themselves for getting in there, but Holloway must be concerned about their form.

They must make home advantage count in the first leg. I've never known a set of supporters sing as much as they do and I believe they need a two-goal lead to take to Brighton if they are to reach Wembley.

Maybe the scene is set for 31-goal Glenn Murray to haunt his former club Brighton? With Wilfried Zaha and Yannick Bolasie supplying the bullets they certainly have the individual talents to do so. They will look to get those players on the ball as much as they can and create an inhibiting atmosphere for Brighton in that first leg.

And don't forget Kevin Phillips. I watched his hat-trick against Hull in March and he was absolutely irrepressible; maybe he'll write another script for himself this week?

However, you can see why Brighton are the favourites for promotion. They're strong, solid and they have a fluid midfield system that can hit you from anywhere. With 18 goals in the last nine games it's clear Gus Poyet has built a squad capable of promotion.

Craig Mackail-Smith and Ashley Barnes have got 20 goals between them this season, but the big stars of late have been David López and Andrea Orlandi. They have several matchwinners and I haven't even mentioned Kazenga LuaLua - who scored twice in the final game against Wolves.

Poyet changed the shape of his team as the season went on, dropping Mackail-Smith and finding ways to make his team more potent in the final third. They kept a lot of clean sheets early on, but had too many draws and now he has found a way to win.

Confidence

Brighton should have plenty of confidence going into a two-legged clash with their arch-rivals because they are the form team. They are better-equipped to win the tie over two legs because they combine solidity with potency.

I think Brighton have got too much in their armoury for Palace, but both sides have been open of late and if each side plays to their potential this could easily be 6-5 over two legs.

But even though I have mentioned all the attacking talent that will be on show from both sides, I think it'll be Brighton's solidity that sees them through. The experience of people like Wayne Bridge could be so important.

But remember, this is the Football League. This division has proved to be a coupon-wrecker on numerous occasions this season and the pressure cooker of the play-offs often rewards the mentally-strong players, rather than the gifted ones. If you can concentrate and focus as if it was any other game then you've got the magic formula.

I'm so excited to be working on the second legs of these ties and if we get anywhere near the drama and intensity of the League One and League Two semi-finals then we should be in for a treat.

Join us for excitement, high drama and goals galore over the next few days.

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Ray Wilkins

Wilkins: Rooney for captain

Ray Wilkins says Wayne Rooney is the "standout candidate" for the England captaincy....

Jamie Carragher

Carra: Gerrard hard to replace

Jamie Carragher says there’s no natural replacement for Steven Gerrard in the England team....

Martin Tyler

Tyler: We need Stevie's values

Steven Gerrard can inspire the next generation of England stars even in retirement, says Martin Tyler....

Latest News RSS feeds

Live transfer updates

Frank Lampard to be unveiled in USA, Gylfi Sigurdsson moves to Swansea, while Spurs sign Ben Davies and Michel Vorm.

United hammer LA Galaxy

Wayne Rooney, Reece James and Ashley Young all scored twice as Manchester United beat LA Galaxy 7-0 in Pasadena.

Bale targets more trophies

Gareth Bale says Real Madrid are targeting an even bigger trophy haul this season.

Lampard to complete NY move

Frank Lampard’s move to New York City is expected to be confirmed on Thursday afternoon.

Spurs confirm double deal

Tottenham have signed Swansea duo Ben Davies and Michel Vorm, with Gylfi Sigurdsson moving in the opposite direction.

Features

Could new signing Cheikhou Kouyate from Anderlecht give West Ham the platform to play under Sam Allardyce?

Could new signing Cheikhou Kouyate from Anderlecht give West Ham the platform to play under Sam Allardyce?

Following a season that left some in the stands and the board room dissatisfied with West Ham’s efforts, the appointment of Teddy Sheringham as an attacking coach was seen as a symbol of a new era of intent. But the signs are that Sam Allardyce will continue to do things his way.

Why new signing Willy Caballero has the ability to usurp Joe Hart as Manchester City's first-choice goalkeeper

Why new signing Willy Caballero has the ability to usurp Joe Hart as Manchester City's first-choice goalkeeper

With Joe Hart celebrating title success with Manchester City after five consecutive wins to finish the season, it is easy to forget that for the second campaign in a row the England goalkeeper had struggled.

James Rodriguez is a Real Madrid player for £63million - now Carlo Ancelotti must work out how to fit him in

James Rodriguez is a Real Madrid player for £63million - now Carlo Ancelotti must work out how to fit him in

“Why put another layer of gold plate on the Bentley when you are losing the entire engine?”