Crystal Palace are back in action in the Premier League hosting Brentford (3pm Saturday). Can the hosts bounce back after that agonising late defeat at Stamford Bridge during the week? Or will the visitors improve after their midweek disaster? This CPFC vs Brentford Bees preview aims to find out before deciding on our betting tips.
It has been a less than happy festive period on the pitch for Crystal Palace, who come into this game having won none of their three games over the Christmas period. Moreover, Roy Hodgson’s men are now without a win in eight, five of which they have lost. Such a run of form has seen the Eagles drop to the all too familiar position of 15th. They are now just three points above the dreaded drop-zone and in need of a pick-me-up.
There has also been a distinct lack of Christmas cheer in the Brentford dressing room of late, as the Bees have started to struggle. They entered the month in good spirits, beating Luton in rather comprehensive fashion on home soil, but things have since gone downhill. Thomas Frank’s men followed that win with a 2-1 defeat away to Brighton and they have since lost three on the spin, losing at Sheffield United, before back-to-back home game defeats against Aston Villa and most recently Wolves. After that embarrassing Wednesday-night loss to Wolves, they need to improve, otherwise they too risk being dragged into the relegation scrap.
Hosts CPFC battling away
On the face of it, the hosts come into this game in poor form, but if we scratch beneath the surface, CPFC have performed respectably of late. Yes, they lost in the week, but they were level until the dying minutes at Stamford Bridge and they certainly battled hard in that game, so much so that a draw would not have been less than deserved. Prior to that, Crystal Palace were arguably the better team when drawing against Brighton, while they showed buckets of grit and spirit to pick up a point against Man City prior to that.
In each of their last three games, the Eagles have shown that they have rediscovered their offensive touch, which is largely down to both Michael Olise and Eberechi Eze now being fit. With that dynamic duo on the pitch, Hodgson’s men look infinitely more creative and capable of hurting their opponents. If they can both stay fit, then the Eagles should continue to produce in the final third.
Bees being stung
The visitors also carry an offensive threat, and it would be wrong to say that they were not involved in Wednesday’s game against Wolves in an attacking sense. They absolutely were, scoring once and creating numerous chances, leaving the pitch with a chunky total of 2.32 expected goals created. However, as has been the case for a while, they simply offered a lack of resistance at the back, while they did not exactly make it difficult for their opponents to create.
Thomas Frank’s men have now gone eight games without a clean sheet and have conceded two or more in four of those eight. What is more, since beating Fulham by three goals to nil in their first away game of the season, they have kept just one travelling clean sheet, which is far from impressive given that they have played eight travelling games in all competitions since then.
When these two London teams lock horns, there is often little between them. When the pair last met, back in August, they drew 1-1 at the Brentford Community Stadium, with Palace’s Joachim Andersen cancelling out Kevin Schade’s first-half opener in the 76th minute. That was the third consecutive 1-1 draw between the pair and the fifth consecutive draw. Interestingly, each of the last five renewals of this fixture have either ended 1-1 or 0-0.
Back both teams to score
Given the recent efforts of both, ‘Both Teams to Score’ looks like an interesting betting tips play here, especially at early odds of 19/20, which on all available evidence, look a little on the generous side.
As mentioned in this preview above, Crystal Palace have refound their creativity in the final third, which has allowed them to score with regularity. Unfortunately for them (and fortunately for anyone siding with BTTS ahead of this game), they have been rather lacking in terms of defensive security. At the very least, they have found clean sheets hard to come by. They are without a shutout in eight games, while they have not prevented their visitors from scoring in any of their last five at home. Both teams have scored in four of those five.
Throw in Brentford’s recent defensive record and such a bet starts to make serious appeal, especially if we also consider the fact that the Bees have generally scored with regularity, netting in four of their last five Premier League games. Each of those four have seen both teams score.
Eze does it
If you are looking for something at a more sizable price ahead of this game, then why not try ‘Eberechi Eze to Score’ on for size.
The dynamic and often deadly number ten recently returned from injury, giving Palace a huge boost. He started for the first time since regaining full fitness against Chelsea in the week and his impact was evident. Sure, he didn’t score, but he twice went close, showing that he is far from shy to shoot.
The 25-year-old has scored two goals this season, giving him an average of 0.20 goals per 90 minutes. Both of those goals have come on home soil, giving him an average of 0.47 goals per 90 minutes at Selhurst Park. Such a number is solid, as is his average of 0.44 xG at home. Throw in an average of 3.56 shots per game and odds of 3/1 start to look very appealing indeed, especially with the visitors in poor defensive shape right now. So the betting tips for this EPL game preview are:
Bradley Gibbs is an experienced football writer. He is an expert analyst on Premier League, and all global football leagues & tournaments, for Just Bookies. Bradley has been published by many respected outlets, including USA Betting and the Racing & Football Outlook. He has also written betting strategy guides.