Crystal Palace v Birmingham: Mutually dissatisfying draw likely
The jostling for top-half position in the Championship is as wild as ever this season, so much so that while these two sit 12th and 14th in the table respectively, they are just five and six points off the play-offs, with one and three games in hand…
A victory therefore would be a huge boost to either’s aspirations of promotion, however the fact that both are priced at 8/5 to do exactly that illustrates how fine the margins are between the pair, and why the draw stands out at 12/5.
It’s an obvious conclusion to arrive at when you consider that Crystal Palace have won only one home league fixture since August, and that against lowly Bristol City, having to make do with a point in each of their last four.
Add into the equation that Birmingham have gone five away matches in all competitions without a triumph, and arrive in south London weary from another midweek spent battling it out in the Europa League, and the case for the draw is further enhanced.
The TV cameras were presumably attracted to this one by both clubs’ heroics so far in 2011-12 – primarily in the cups admittedly – and the ill feeling relating to Steve Bruce’s St Andrew’s switch in 2001, but goals are far from guaranteed.
Seven of the last eight meetings between the pair have featured under 2.5 goals, and likewise seven of the last eight at Selhurst Park, while the same is true of Crystal Palace’s last six encounters as hosts. A repeat is 8/13.
Correct score-wise 0-0 and 1-1 look the standout picks at 7/1 and 11/2 respectively. Two of their last four clashes in the capital have finished goalless and three of the Eagles’ last four at home have seen neither their defence nor their visitors being beaten.