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

Everton come unstuck

Man Utd's men with a point to prove can take advantage of Everton's midweek blow, says Jamie Redknapp....

Paul Merson

Merson's predictions

Paul Merson says Liverpool WON'T beat Norwich - and Chelsea and Man City will close the gap....

Jamie Carragher

Bruce almighty

Steve Bruce deserves a mention when this year's managerial awards are handed out, says Carra....

Latest News RSS feeds

Gerrard: Rodgers phenomenal

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard believes manager Brendan Rodgers can build a legacy of success at the club.

Everton move on from Fellaini

Roberto Martinez has questioned where former Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini would fit into his current team.

Moyes wary of time constraints

David Moyes admits Man United could struggle to secure their top transfer targets in time for the start of pre-season.

Wilshere poised for return

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is confident England midfielder Jack Wilshere will be in good shape for the World Cup.

Ruddy surprised by Hughton

John Ruddy says the Norwich City squad were surprised by the timing of the sacking of Chris Hughton.

Features

Comment: Jose Mourinho self-fulfilling prophecy sees him fall off his horse as Chelsea lose to Sunderland

Comment: Jose Mourinho self-fulfilling prophecy sees him fall off his horse as Chelsea lose to Sunderland

Beware Black Cats crossing your path. That would have been sage advice to the trio of Premier League title contenders in the last week of March as Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea all prepared to face Sunderland at home in the run-in.

Rate the players

Rate the players

Check out our player ratings from Sunderland's shock win at Chelsea and give your own verdict here.

Comment: Another win for Tim Sherwood but Tottenham need a manager of substance next season

Comment: Another win for Tim Sherwood but Tottenham need a manager of substance next season

Tottenham weren’t at their best on Saturday, but it rarely looked likely to be a problem. Christian Eriksen’s wicked dead-ball delivery did for Fulham as Spurs emerged as 3-1 winners to make it seven points from nine in April. They’ve scored 11 goals in the process too.