Hodgson pleased with Palace win

Boss Roy Hodgson was delighted to see his Crystal Palace side end a run of unlucky 13 defeats in the absence of Wilfried Zaha by edging out Leicester City 1-0.

Luka Milivojevic netted the only goal of the game as the Eagles claimed three Premier League points without star forward Zaha for the first time since they won 3-2 against Sunderland back in September 2016.

And Hodgson, while playing down the importance of such statistics, was also pleased to see his team get the job done to move five points clear of the bottom three.

He told Sky Sports: "I've not really given it too much thought to be honest, because it's one of those facts that I get hit with.

"They mention 13 games, but I wasn't in charge for all of those 13 games. I know there have been games where he's not played and we've not won, but some of those games have been pretty tricky games, which I'm sure we'd have lost with him as well.

"It's like all statistics. They tell a story, but if you really want to know what the story is you've got to read the book, and we don't read the book for statistical stories.

"We just look at the statistics and we draw our conclusions.

"It was good to win without him and we deserved to win without him."

The next task for Palace is a trip to the Etihad Stadium next Saturday to take on Manchester City, with the Eagles 8/1 to gain a draw and 1/12 not to be relegated come the end of the season.

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Hodgson desperate to lift curse

Roy Hodgson is upbeat about his Crystal Palace team's chances of recording a victory against Leicester City on Saturday at Selhurst Park.

The 16th-placed Eagles, who will be without Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke this weekend, have only won three of their first 16 Premier League matches of the campaign and scored just 13 goals.

However, Palace won the corresponding fixture last term 5-0 and also triumphed 3-0 at the King Power Stadium, so Hodgson knows how to beat the Foxes.

He said: "While it's too soon for [Christian] Benteke – he's out training and we're very happy with that – the other players are all fit so that's positive.

"All curses have to be lifted in one way and there's only one way we can do that. It [the game against Leicester] is an opportunity. [Having not won without Zaha] is a fact and it will be a fact until such time as we play a game with him unable to play and we win. There's an opportunity on Saturday and we'll try to take it.

"We're not letting a lot in, especially if you take away the last two games. We need to take our chances more, we like to play a lot in the opponent's half and we get a lot of balls into the opponent's penalty area."

Palace, 11/2 to be relegated this season, can be backed at 13/8 to beat Leicester City on Saturday.

Hughton still aiming to improve

Brighton & Hove Albion head coach Chris Hughton says he has not altered his approach, despite seeing his side win five of their eight Premier League games

The Seagulls defeated Crystal Palace 3-1 on Tuesday evening to move up into the top half of the table, with Albion already 12 points clear of the relegation places and looking well on course to ensure another season in the top-flight.

However, Hughton is aware that things can soon turn around, as he prepares his side for a trip to Burnley, who are one of the sides currently inside the bottom three.

He told his club's official website: "My focus hasn't changed, irrespective of any league position. Once you start changing your focus and thinking you’re better than you are, then there can be a rude awakening around the corner.

"For a side like ourselves who've won some matches on the spin like we have, you can also see it go the other way.

"My focus isn't on our league position. We just want to improve both as a team and a club while gaining as many points as possible."

Brighton are now priced at 5/2 to finish in the top half of the table, while they are 3/10 to have to make do with a place in the bottom half of the standings come the end of the season.

Meanwhile, Hughton is hopeful of having Glenn Murray (shoulder) and Jose Izquierdo (knee) available to feature at Turf Moor, with a final decision to be taken on both players on Friday.

He added of leading scorer Murray: "We'll assess Glenn on Friday morning, today it wasn't as bad as we had originally feared.

"We'll give him every opportunity to be fit, he went over on it quite badly and it forced him off, but it isn't dislocated or anything. It was too sore to continue and it still is at the moment, but we haven't ruled him out."

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Hodgson backs his strikers

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson says the side have enough qualify upfront despite being the Premier League's second-lowest scorers.

The Eagles have only scored 11 goals in their 15 league games so far this season, a campaign which is turning into a battle for survival.

A defeat away to rivals Brighton in midweek leaves Palace 15th in the table, three points above the bottom three.

They have conceded less than their closest rivals but it is in attack where they have struggled so far this season, though Hodgson insists there are quality strikers at the club who can score the goals to help the side climb the table.

Ahead of a trip to West Ham on Saturday, the Palace manager told a press conference: "I do not think we lack quality. I will accept the criticism that we have not been as good at converting some of the opportunities that we have created.

"With Conor Wickham now coming back to fitness, with Jordan Ayew playing well in my opinion, with (Alexander) Sorloth getting better all the time and with Christian Benteke not that far way, I don't know that it is right to complain about the paucity of talent of ability in the forward areas."

Palace are 9/4 to win at the London Stadium on Saturday with the Hammers 23/20 while the draw is 5/2.

The Eagles are in a poor fun of form, having just a solitary victory in their last 10 games in all competitions and Hodgson admitted he was disappointed with their defeat at Brighton, adding: "We all wanted to do better and know we should have done better.

"Nothing we do two days after can affect that, but we have to stop it affecting us going forward, starting with Saturday at West Ham."

Palace are 7/1 to be relegated while they are 11/2 to finish in the top half of the Premier League.

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Arnautovic confirms injury setback

West Ham forward Marko Arnautovic has signalled that he will be out of action for the foreseeable future, having injured a hamstring against Cardiff City.

The 29-year-old Austria international has been the standout performer for the Londoners so far this season, scoring five Premier League goals, despite having to contend with a number of injury problems.

However, Arnautovic, who has not found the net in his last four games, accepts that he now requires rest and recuperation, making him a major doubt for the hectic festive period coming up.

He posted on Instagram: "Thank you so much for all your messages. I will be out for a while, but I will do everything to come back strong and quick."

Meanwhile, Hammers boss Manuel Pellegrini played down the severity of the ankle injury which kept summer signing Jack Wilshere out of the victory over the Bluebirds.

The former Arsenal midfielder has only played five times since joining the Irons, but Pellegrini is confident that the England international will be back in contention sooner rather than later, having picked up his latest knock during training.

He told reporters: "Jack has a small pain in his ankle, not the one he injured before."

Next up for West Ham is a London derby against Crystal Palace at the London Stadium on Saturday, with this fixture having ended in a 1-1 draw last season.

The Irons are 11/10 to claim a third consecutive league victory on Saturday and are 10/1 to win the game 2-0, with the hosts 7/4 to keep a clean sheet.

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McArthur calls for Eagles response

Crystal Palace midfielder James McArthur has called for a quickfire reaction to a dismal performance in the 3-1 defeat to ten-man Brighton on Tuesday.

Having gained a goalless draw at Manchester United and beaten Burnley 2-0 in their last two games, the Eagles headed to the Amex Stadium on Tuesday evening trying to make it three games without defeat.

However, despite playing for more than 70 minutes against ten men, Palace were well beaten, with McArthur accepting that his team had quite simply not been good enough.

The only positive for the Scotland international is that his side are back in action on Saturday when they head to the London Stadium to take on West Ham.

He told the Evening Standard: "A poor performance all round and not acceptable. Even in the second half, when we were pushing, we did not put their goalkeeper under enough pressure when they had ten men.

"It is very disappointing. We all expected a much better performance, especially after the win against Burnley.”

"The only thing is we have that game very fast and we can try and make it right. When you have that full week it is hard and it eats away at you.

"Now we need to get going and make it right by winning at West Ham."

Last season both Premier League meetings of the London rivals ended in draws, with the clash at the London Stadium finishing 1-1 after the showdown at Selhurst Park produced a 2-2 final scoreline.

Palace are 12/5 to claim a draw on Saturday and are 9/1 to secure a 1-0 victory over their capital rivals, with the Eagles 1/10 not to be relegated come the end of the season.

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Premier League: Eagles Dunked By Brighton Ten

Brighton & Hove Albion 3-1 Crystal Palace

Brighton won another three Premier League points, beating Crystal Palace despite going down to ten men.

Skipper Lewis Dunk was immense in the Seagulls’ backline after losing his partner Shane Duffy to a first-half red, and he watched in delight as his frontmen put the Eagles to the sword and romped 3-0 up by halftime.

With us odds favouring Crystal Palace, the hosts were marginal outsiders, but they only needed ten men to beat the visitors!

Highlights of the game

The Seagulls had a wing clipped but were flying throughout the first half, and that set up a fascinating second period. Brighton pressed from the off, but there was an element of controversy when they went ahead on 24 minutes.

Jose Izquierdo latched on to a weak defensive clearance and then fell under a challenge from James McArthur. While the midfielder clearly took the ball, the referee gave a penalty and Glenn Murray slammed home his eighth goal of the season.

Then in a moment of pure insanity, the hosts went down to ten men. Murray likes a penalty, but when his appeal for another was correctly turned down, Shane Duffy—for reasons known only to himself—head-butted Patrick van Aanholt and received a straight red card.

Chris Hughton brought Leon Balogun on to shore up the defence and then, guess what? With his first touch, he volleyed a clearance from Palace straight back and into the net for his first goal for the Seagulls. Fans at the Amex Stadium couldn’t believe their eyes.

Andros Townsend scored a world-class goal as the Eagles grabbed their first home win against Burnley at the weekend. He hit a powerful effort just before the break which was well saved by Mathew Ryan at the second attempt. And then, as Palace pushed to halve the deficit, Brighton incredibly went 3-0 up.

Florin Andone's third goal sealed Brighton's 6th win of the Premier League

Brighton’s Florin Andone celebrates after scoring their third goal against Crystal Palace in the Premier League

Florin Andone chased a long ball into Palace’s half and, when keeper Wayne Hennessey dithered, the Romanian striker pounced to fire a low shot into the bottom corner to make it three. It was Andone’s second goal in English football, having scored the winner against Huddersfield on Saturday.

Crystal Palace’s early season troubles have been magnified by a run of difficult games, and they were a little unlucky to lose in a recent home game against Spurs.

The Eagles also secured a point at Old Trafford, bossing Manchester United for much of the game.

However, they couldn’t complain about the way things stood at the break after defending like schoolboys. Make sure you catch the Premier League 2018 highlights of this 45 minutes. They have to be seen to be believed!

The onus was all on Palace to do something special in the second half. But they failed to make any real impact as they took turns to hit loose shots while Ryan happily watched on. The game looked to be fizzling out when the visitors were thrown a lifeline on 81 minutes. First-half hero Balogun turned villain when he slid into Wilfried Zaha. Luka Milivojevic cut the deficit to two from the resulting penalty.

Key statistics

Even though the two clubs are almost 50 miles apart, this game is a Derby. And it’s one the Seagulls quite like.

The last time they met here, Brighton won 2-1 in the FA Cup last January.

Brighton are making the Amex a fortress, with only one defeat in ten home games. And it’s the first time they have won a midweek game at the seventh attempt.

What’s next?

At the start of the season, the Premier League 2018 betting odds had Brighton as a relegation candidate. But there’s no sign of second season syndrome at the Amex, and they are in excellent shape to survive again with 21 points in the bag.

Next, the Seagulls make the long journey up North to face Burnley. The Clarets have made a shocking start to this season after qualifying for Europe last term. But Sean Dyche is made of stern stuff and will expect his team to launch its season against the Seagulls.

For Palace, it’s a testing London Derby with a trip over the East End to take on West Ham, who beat Cardiff tonight. Manuel Pellegrini has got the Hammers going nicely after their own bad start and has his eyes on a top ten place.

 

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Premier League Preview: When the Seagulls Meet the Eagles

Brighton & Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace

I bet not many of you us followers realise that this is a derby!

I certainly didn’t until last season when the clubs were reunited, for the first time ever in the Premier League.

The rivalry stems back more than 40 years ago when Alan Mullery and Terry Venables, former Spurs team mates, were the high-profile figures in charge.

And so began an unlikely grudge match which has now reached the modern daytop flight of English football.

Talking Points

Some of the Premier League 2018 news has been provided by these clubs bucking the trend.

Brighton are currently in the heady heights of 11th spot with 18 points from 14 games and are enjoying the relative comfort of midtable.

For a side with one of the smallest squads and wage bills in the top flights, the Seagulls are punching above their weight under the steady tutelage of Chris Hughton—his feat in keeping them in the top flight last year one of the achievements of the season.

Palace are currently in 14th spot, only three points clear of safety. However, they already look set to defy some of the Premier League 2018 betting odds after their veteran boss Roy Hodgson worked wonders last term.

The Eagles certainly are on the up, as shown by their fine draw at Old Trafford and first home victory of the season against Burnley which saw them end a run of eight league matches without a win.

The likes of Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend (when on form) can trouble any opponent and will surely spearhead a run to midtable safety in the months ahead.

Glen Murray is motivated to give Brighton another Premier League win when they face Crystal Palace this week

Glen Murray reacts during Brighton & Hove Albion’s Premier League match against Huddersfield Town

Brighton, who are due to welcome back top-scorer Glenn Murray after he was given a rest in their 2-1 win at Huddersfield, are also in upbeat mood. Despite having less individual match-winners, they have collectively excelled and are six points clear of their opponents going into this one.

That is reflected by the fact Brighton have lost just one of their past nine home Premier League games (won four, drawn four) and scored in each of their last seven league fixtures—their longest Premier League scoring streak.

Behind every good frontman is a creator, and midfielder Solly March has largely taken that mantle with four assists in his last four top-flight games.

And if Palace are in any doubt where one of the main threats will come from, they only need to be told that 11 of Brighton’s 16 Premier League goals this season have come from set pieces. It’s the division’s joint-highest tally (alongside Tottenham).

Equally, Brighton should know where Palace’s main threat will be.

Zaha may have failed to score in his last eight Premier League games, but he is still contributing since returning from injury and has five goals in his eight league games against the South Coast club.

Palace are also keen to preserve and maintain some fine runs.

Since a 3-0 defeat at Manchester City in 2014, Palace are unbeaten in nine Premier League away games played in December, albeit drawing seven of them. Moreover, the Eagles could equal the club record of three consecutive clean sheets with a shut-out at Brighton, something they last achieved in March last year.

History

Last season, the M23 derby at the Amex Stadium ended goalless in a fairly low key affair when both sides were struggling. This time, it is unlikely to be as cagey.

The return fixture at Selhurst Park saw Palace emerge 3-2 winners.The sides actually met three times last season with Brighton emerging 2-1 victors at home in the third round of the FA Cup.

Before last season, you have to go back to the 2013 Championship play-off semi-finals for the last time these sides met.

After a 0-0 draw at Selhurst Park, Palace won 2-0 at the Amex with a Zaha double steering them through to the final at Wembley, which they eventually won to seal promotion.

They have been in the top flight ever since.

Betting Tip

??
Brighton & Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace Over 2.25 @ 2.20
December 5, 03:45 (GMT+8)

Palace are slight favourites, priced 1X2 @ 2.75 with the hosts 1X2 @ 2.81.

The draw is at 2.94, which also shows how evenly matched these sides could be. Likewise, with Asian Handicap betting, it’s -0.25 Palace @ 2.36 and -0.25 Brighton @ 2.42.

A repeat of last season’s goalless draw will give you odds of @ 6.40. However, I see the two sides scoring this time, and more than two in fact.

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (??) BETS ARE WORTH:
?? = €20 (Highly confident) ?? = €10 (CONFIDENT) ?? = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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Hughton keeping Seagulls grounded

Brighton boss Chris Hughton has warned his players to stay grounded and focused ahead of their clash with rivals Crystal Palace on Tuesday.

The Seagulls last three games have all seen red cards and emotions are set to run high for Palace's trip to the Amex on Tuesday night.

Hughton is fully aware of what the fixture means to fans but hopes his players can keep their emotions in check for an important Premier League clash.

"We know what this game means to the supporters, both sets of supporters," he said.

"You want part of those emotions anyway, you want a team that's fired up you want a team that knows what this particular game means.

"But once that game starts you have to treat it as a normal game.

"If you are too emotional in a game, the last thing you want is something like we have had in our last three games, when either us or the opposition finish the game with 10 men after a sending off.

"We have to be smart about it and go about our business the right way take into consideration the emotions, the fight, the passions that come with this type of game, but we have to play sensibly."

Brighton are 19/10 to win, 21/10 to draw and 9/5 to lose to the Eagles.

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Dyche determined to get it right

Sean Dyche concedes that his Burnley players are not playing well at the moment and they deserved to lose Saturday's match against Crystal Palace.

The Clarets, without a win in seven matches, are in the bottom three after losing 2-0 at Selhurst Park.

James McArthur and Andros Townsend scored the goals for Roy Hodgson's team, who could have won far more easily but for a string of fine saves by Clarets goalkeeper Joe Hart.

The result leaves Burnley at 4/9 to be relegated this term, while they are 11/1 to beat Liverpool in their next match on Wednesday.

A dejected Dyche admitted afterwards: "The best side won.

"When fear comes into performances, it's like losing the Eye of the Tiger. It's like being a good boxer, it happens, and you have to work it out.

"Usually you do that by getting back in the gym and working hard, and that's what we'll have to do.

"I don't stare at the league table, but you have to be aware of it. We've got to get back to a consistent level of really strong performances.

"It might be two steps forward, one back, but we have to keep building."