Blogs & Opinion


Peter Beagrie:

Most Popular Posts:

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

Peter Beagrie - 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:

Jamie Redknapp

Redknapp: No chance for Liverpool

Jamie Redknapp says Liverpool can't realistically hope to win the Premier League this season....

Jeff Stelling

Jeff: Resting players is costly

Why are clubs resting their stars in crucial games? It's costing them three points, says Jeff Stelling....

Jamie Carragher

Carragher: Which Blues are best?

Jamie Carragher reveals which Man City wizard and which Chelsea talisman he would have in his team....

Latest News RSS feeds

Liverpool undone at Upton Park

West Ham United netted twice inside the opening seven minutes en route to a 3-1 victory over Liverpool at Upton Park.

Arsenal blitz shatters Villa

Aston Villa’s unbeaten start to the season was ended by a devastating goal blitz as Arsenal enjoyed a 3-0 away win.

Cisse double saves Newcastle

Substitute Papiss Cisse saved the day for Newcastle and under-fire manager Alan Pardew in their 2-2 draw with Hull City.

Wanyama downs 10-man Swans

Victor Wanyama broke the resistance of 10-man Swansea as Southampton left the Liberty Stadium with a 1-0 win.

Burnley held by Sunderland

Burnley and Sunderland are both still looking for their first wins of the season after a 0-0 draw at Turf Moor.

Features

Mesut Ozil – Aston Villa 0 Arsenal 3: What did you think of German World Cup winner in Premier League win?

Mesut Ozil – Aston Villa 0 Arsenal 3: What did you think of German World Cup winner in Premier League win?

One minute and 19 seconds. That was the time it took for a transformation in the appraisals of Mesut Ozil.

Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois adjusting to life in the Premier League

Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois adjusting to life in the Premier League

Thibaut Courtois spoke exclusively to Soccer Saturday and described how he's finding life in the Premier League.

Sergio Aguero and Diego Costa were Atletico Madrid team-mates but their routes to the top have been so different

Sergio Aguero and Diego Costa were Atletico Madrid team-mates but their routes to the top have been so different

With 64 goals between them last season, Sergio Aguero and Diego Costa are two of the game’s best strikers. Born just three months apart on opposite sides of the Argentina-Brazil border, they were even team-mates at Atletico Madrid. But the pair have taken very different routes to the top.