LONDON, UK – Charlton Athletic face Crystal Palace in the first of six South London derbies this season. The match will be a fiercely contested affair, and the fact that the match is at night will make for a great atmosphere at The Valley. Palace fans will be eager to come away with victory as it was on this ground in 2005 that a 2-2 with Charlton on the final day relegated Iain Dowie's men.
Charlton won promotion at a canter last year and, despite the fact that they are 17th in the table at the moment, 11/1 with Ladbrokes (bet £10 to win £110) on a second consecutive promotion look great odds, something Southampton and Norwich City both achieved in the last two seasons. More good odds are 5/1 with Skybet on a least a pllay-off place. In Bradley Wright-Phillips they have a proven goalscorer. He is a tempting 40/1 to win the Championship Golden Boot. The Addicks may hand a first start to former Stoke forward Ricardo Fuller. The Jamaican started his football career in South-East London eleven years ago.
Palace, under the management of their former striker Dougie Freedman, finished a comfortable 16 points of relegation last year – a good effort considering their limited resources. However, with three troubled clubs relegated and three good sides promoted last year, the signs are there that the Eagles may find it harder this year. They have sold exciting talents in Sean Scannell and Nathaniel Clyne, as well as centre-back Anthony Gardner and midfielder Darren Ambrose. They will probably hand a debut to on-loan striker David Goodwillie, while captain Paddy McCarthy is still injured. They are the third favourites to go down, with BetVictor and Bodog offering 9/4. However playing in such an open league as the Championship, a 14/1 punt with BetVictor on a play-off spot looks a decent price.
Charlton go into the match as firm favourites, with Ladbrokes offering evens on a home win. This looks particularly likely given that Charlton have won seven of their last nine matches against Crystal Palace. A draw is a 5/2 shot with Bodog and BetVictor, while an away win is at top odds of 10/3 with BetVictor. Charlton are a very short 7/2 with William Hill to score in the first 15 minutes.
On the correct score front, 1-0 to Charlton leads the way at 6/1 with bet365, but the value option here could be in backing 3-0 to Charlton which, given that Palace will be missing their first choice centre-backs from last season, is much more likely than the 20/1 odds with BetVictor suggest. Charlton/Charlton in the half-time/full-time market is the most likely scenario, with best odds of 21/10 with Bodog and BetVictor. However Palace/Draw looks the better selection at 16/1 with the same two bookmakers.
Bradley Wright-Phillips is, according to bookies, most likely to open the scoring with Paddy Power offering 6/1 on the former Southampton man breaking the deadlock. Probable strike-partner Ricardo Fuller is at a best price of 7/1 with Paddy Power while, for the away team, David Goodwillie is priced at 9/1 with bet365 to score his first goal for his new club. Exciting young striker Wilfried Zaha is a tempting 11/1 with bet365, although doubts remain as to his composure in front of goal.
The match will be shown live on Sky Sports 1 HD from 19:30