Top Flight Rivalry For Palace Could Be Under Threat

Following our recent article encouraging fans to contact us with their own words on the club we all adore, Jon Sayers was first in the queue to have his views published on TEB. Here is his perhaps unhealthy obsession of our rivals plight should the season get back underway… 

If suggestion becomes reality and the Premier League season really is going to end with nine rounds of fixtures played on neutral grounds with no fans, Liverpool are sure to be crowned champions, but what will be the impact on the relegation battle? Will Brighton go down at last?

The search for an answer begins with the facts. History proves conclusively what we all hold to be true – home advantage counts. It is 45% of games across all leagues end in a home win – only 30% of visitors take all of the points.

When you factor in over-performance home and away by above average teams (which Brighton are not), the writing on the wall becomes much clearer. Brighton playing on neutral grounds will get worse results than they would have enjoyed in the normal home and away format. For those of an Albion persuasion, this solidifies the fear that the slope ahead is as slippery as a jellied eel.

Since arriving in the Premier League, Brighton have proved conclusively that they are below average. Now, taking this performance level to neutral fields, where home advantage and visitor disadvantage both evaporate, it’s obviously more and more likely that in any one match the better team will win. So a prediction of relegation or survival boils down to who Brighton’s opponents will be.

If you’re a Seagull, this is where the news grows grim. Unkindly, the Brighton fixture list has saved many of the most difficult opponents for last. And, for the reasons given, whereas Brighton might have had a better chance in a normal home and away scenario, on neutral grounds they are sure to be kicking uphill. No wonder so many of their fans want this season to be declared null and void.

For Brighton, the closing sequence opens with Arsenal, Leicester and Manchester United who are all clearly better than Brighton and also well motivated to squish the Seagulls. Every one of them is hunting a spot in Europe if next season ever happens.

So it’s zero points for those in Tesco bags from these 3 matches – this must be the expectation that churns their guts.

Next come Norwich, which might be expected to result in one point. Norwich have been improving, and there can be little certainty the canaries will be beaten.

Then it’s a pair of fixtures to make any fan’s heart sink. Liverpool and Manchester City, with every betting man and his bank manager expecting Brighton to come up empty handed in both.

So, after 35 games, our friends on the South Coast can be expected to have just 30 points, making it statistically impossible for them to garner the 40 generally accepted to guarantee one more Premier League season.

With 3 games to go, a silent stadium somewhere will see Brighton still needing 3 wins (and even then no guarantee of safety, what fun!) as they finally drop the curtain on the 2019/20 season against Southampton, Newcastle and Burnley.

Three clubs with tough and experienced managers not prepared to yield one favour to Harry Potter and the Sussex strugglers. And no home fans to whoosh them to safety on a wave of glory to the sound of singing ‘Sussex By The Sea’. More likely, a peaceful wave goodbye.

Thirty something points, and let’s see if Villa can sink the seagulls. A dire prediction, but let’s all hope it comes true!

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