Having suffered humiliation against Luton Town on Matchday 22, Roberto De Zerbi will be desperate for a response. Here, we look ahead to Saturday’s Premier League clash with our Brighton vs Crystal Palace prediction and preview.
Brighton vs Crystal Palace Stats: The Quick Hits
- Brighton are backed to beat Crystal Palace on Saturday, winning 47.4% of the Opta supercomputer’s 10,000 pre-match simulations.
- The Seagulls are unbeaten in their last nine Premier League home games (W4 D5) since a 3-1 loss against West Ham United in August.
- Palace have won two of their last three Premier League matches (L1), as many as in their previous 15 league games.
Reports linking Roberto De Zerbi with managerial positions at Liverpool and Barcelona were indicators of a job generally well done by the Italian at Brighton. But, a few days can be a long time in football, and a brutal midweek defeat to Luton Town brought the Seagulls and their boss back to earth.
Saturday’s clash with bitter rivals Crystal Palace at the Amex Stadium is the perfect opportunity for a response.
Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp and Barcelona head coach Xavi are set to leave at the end of the 2023-24 season, with reports suggesting De Zerbi could be a contender to replace either, but not based on Brighton’s showing in Tuesday’s 4-0 humiliation at Luton.
The visitors were 2-0 down inside three minutes at Kenilworth Road on Matchday 22 and 3-0 behind at the interval – of the five times Brighton have been three goals adrift at half-time in a Premier League game, three have been under De Zerbi, also doing so against Everton in May 2023 and Aston Villa last September.
That crushing Luton defeat left Brighton eighth in the league table after failing to score for a third-straight Premier League outing in 2023, only going on a longer such run in the competition between March and April 2019 under Chris Hughton (six games). In fact, that goalless run comes after scoring in all but one of 35 league matches between March and December 2023 – the last team to fail to score in their first four games in a calendar year was Leicester City in 2017.
De Zerbi hooked Pervis Estupiñán at half-time at Luton, while James Milner limped off after just 20 minutes as Brighton’s injury issues continued. Joël Veltman, Ansu Fati, Julio Enciso and Solly March all remain as long-term absentees, with Japan’s Kaoru Mitoma and Ivory Coast’s Simon Adingra at the Asian Cup and Africa Cup of Nations respectively.
As for Saturday’s visitors, Luton’s dominant win would’ve dragged Palace into the relegation mix if not for their 3-2 comeback victory over Sheffield United at Selhurst Park. Eberechi Eze twice levelled after goals from Ben Brereton Diaz and James McAtee before Michael Olise crashed in his second-half winner.
Olise teed up both of Eze’s first-half finishes, setting up his attacking partner for the seventh time in the Premier League overall, the joint-most one Palace player has assisted a single teammate in the competition, along with Andros Townsend for Christian Benteke and James McArthur for Wilfried Zaha.
Unsurprisingly, Manchester United and Chelsea are reportedly long-term admirers of Olise, who also became the first Palace player to register three goal involvements in more than one Premier League game (one goal, two assists against Sheffield United), previously doing so against Leeds United in April 2023 (three assists).
Tuesday’s victory over the Blades may have somewhat eased the pressure on Palace manager Roy Hodgson, too, with his 14th-place side sitting six points clear of Everton in the relegation zone heading into MD 23. However, there may still be some concern for Hodgson as Olise and Eze were withdrawn against the Blades, with the latter suffering what his manager described as an “unfortunate” hamstring issue.
Hodgson will hope his star duo are in contention for Saturday, adding “with any luck” they will both be fit, and apart from that has far fewer injury concerns to worry about than De Zerbi. Joel Ward, Rob Holding and Cheick Doucouré are the only others missing from Palace’s squad ahead of the south-coast kick-off, while new arrivals Daniel Muñoz and Adam Wharton could feature.
Meanwhile, the in-form Olise could hit another landmark. He has been directly involved in at least one goal in each of his last five Premier League appearances for Palace (five goals, three assists) and could become the first Eagles player to score or assist in six consecutive appearances in the competition should he do so against Brighton.
Brighton vs Crystal Palace Head-to-Head
Having won this exact fixture 1-0 last season thanks to March’s goal, Brighton are looking to win consecutive home league games against Palace for the first time since a run of seven between 1979 and 1988.
In fact, Palace have failed to win any of their last five Premier League games against the Seagulls since a 2-1 away win in February 2021 (D4 L1), as Jean-Philippe Mateta and the now-departed Christian Benteke were on target.
Expect goals on Saturday, too. While the first Premier League meeting between Brighton and Crystal Palace finished 0-0, since then both teams have scored in 10 of their 12 encounters (one clean sheet each). De Zerbi’s side have scored exactly once in each of the last seven meetings but haven’t netted more than once in any of the last nine.
These two rivals could not be separated earlier in the season either, with Danny Welbeck’s late goal cancelling out Jordan Ayew’s opener at Selhurst Park in a 1-1 draw on 21 December.
Brighton may be winless in their last five Premier League away matches – their longest streak since a seven-game run under Graham Potter ended in December 2021 – but their home form is far more encouraging.
The Seagulls are unbeaten in their last nine Premier League games at the Amex (W4 D5) since a 3-1 loss to West Ham in August. It’s their longest streak without a home league defeat since a run of 14 between September 2016 and February 2017, and their longest ever in the top flight.
However, Palace have won two of their last three Premier League matches (L1) – beating Brentford and Sheffield United either side of a 5-0 hammering by Arsenal – as many as in their previous 15 league games combined (W2 D5 L8).
Keeping a clean sheet would be a good start on Saturday for Palace. All three of their Premier League away wins this season have been to nil (against Burnley, Manchester United and Sheffield United). They have only won one of their last 19 away league games when conceding (D5 L13), though, beating Leeds 5-1 in April 2023.
Opta Power Rankings
The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.
Ahead of kick-off this weekend, here are the Opta Power Rankings for both sides:
Brighton vs Crystal Palace Prediction
Despite the heavy away defeat at Luton, Brighton are backed to defeat Palace by the Opta supercomputer after the home side won in 47.4% of the 10,000 pre-match simulations.
Palace’s chance of victory is ranked lower than the draw, with an away triumph forecast in 24.5% of scenarios compared to the spoils shared 28.1% of the time.
In Opta’s season predictions, Brighton remain in their current league-table position by finishing eighth (18.5%), while Palace stay 14th in 19.4% but still have a 5.1% chance of an unlikely relegation.