Tuesday night’s defeat in south Yorkshire against a resurgent Barnsley side was a bitter pill to swallow for Gus Poyet and Seagulls fans – and it has been a difficult week for the Albion who are now outside the play-off places following back-to-back defeats on the road (having lost 1-0 at Bolton on Saturday before their midweek 2-1 reversal).
Had Leonardo Ulloa not missed the opportunity to equalise from the spot, Brighton would still be in the play-off zone – but they trail Forest by a point ahead of Sunday’s Derby clash with Palace at the Amex.
The Seagulls are out to 6/1 for promotion and after the Palace game they travel to the City Ground for what could be a pivotal game against Forest after the international break at Easter.
Palace are 2/1 to be promoted and 1/16 to finish in the play-off places, with Brighton out to 11/10 to finish in the top six (Forest now 8/11).
Palace boss Ian Holloway and, more importantly, the outstanding Wilfried Zaha, have been charged by the FA with improper conduct after the recent 2-2 draw with Leeds and Zaha’s availability for Sunday’s game must be in doubt given he has already apologised for a gesture he made to Leeds fans in the immediate aftermath of the game.
Poyet was quick to deflect blame for the loss to the Reds at Oakwell from Ulloa – who did actually score Albion’s only goal of the game, on 59 minutes, before Luke Steele saved his spot kick on 83 minutes (Barnsley’s goals came from Jason Scotland, on 15 mins and Chris Dagnall, a 64th minute penalty) – indeed he insisted the blame laid solely with his team.
He said: “The good thing is the only people to blame are ourselves, not the opposition, the pitch, the weather or the referee. We have another nine games and we’ll see.
“We’ll try our best. We knew we would have to fight and compete and I got the feeling we gave the game away with the goals we gave away, but that is how it has been for a while so I am not surprised.
“We have played three games away from home in a week; the first (0-0 draw at Bristol City) was terrible, then we were by far the better team at Bolton and lost (1-0) and if anyone said Barnsley deserved to win (tonight) then I should retire.”
The bottom line though is that one point from nine is hardly promotion form at this stage of the season and a draw might not suffice on Sunday against the old enemy. The Seagulls are 6/4 at betvictor.com with the Eagles 12/5 and the draw 2/1.
Albion owe Palace one after the 3-0 defeat at Selhurst Park back in December, when Lewis Dunk suffered an early red card. A 3-0 win for Poyet’s men might be asking too much but we bet 30/1 at betvictor with the most popular scoreline 1-1 at 13/2.
Former Seagull Glenn Murray got a brace in the reverse fixture and is 13/8 to score at anytime, is 5s to be first goalscorer and is 7s to repeat the December fixture and score two (or more).
Seagulls fans will be keeping a close eye on the televised East Midlands Derby at Pride Park, where Derby (12/5) entertain Leicester City (6/5; the draw is 12/5) and also the game at the KC Stadium where second-placed Hull (11/10) meet Forest (11/4). Let’s hope the Tigers can do Albion a favour ahead of the Palace clash although there is no getting away from the fact that the Seagulls need to help themselves.
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For all your weekend odds check out betvictor.com