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Why are Brighton and Crystal Palace rivals? M23 derby explained ahead of Premier League clash

Crystal Palace host Brighton tonight in the M23 derby.

After a superb start to the season, Brighton & Hove Albion will travel to Selhurst Park this evening as they take on their fierce rivals Crystal Palace in the M23 derby.

Since the Seagulls were promoted in 2017, the two sides added yet another intense rivalry to the Premier League’s impressive fixture list, however there is a lot of confusion around the derby that features two clubs almost 50 miles apart.

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Selhurst Park is situated in Croydon in south London, while the Amex Stadium is over an hour away on the coast - a rather lengthy journey between two fanbases that have such a passionate ‘hatred’ towards one another.

Why are Brighton and Crystal Palace rivals?

Despite the distance between the two clubs, it is the M23 motorway that connects them both - hence the derby name.

The rivalry began during the 1976/77 campaign when the two sides were forced to face each other five times over the course of the season.

The first three clashes ended in draws before things eventually boiled over in an FA Cup replay at Stamford Bridge.

The match saw Brighton have a goal ruled out that they believed to be legitimate, before they were forced to retake a penalty which former midfielder Brian Horton missed.

Seagulls boss Alan Mullery was left furious with the decision to rule out the goal and caused controversy when he swore at the Crystal Palace supporters - sparking the derby that we have enjoyed ever since.

Mullery spoke of the incident inhis autobiography, writing: "I gave them [Palace fans] two fingers, then did an awful interview bad-mouthing their supporters and saying I wouldn’t give a fiver for any of the Palace players.

"I could have handled things better, but I just totally lost it.”

More fuel was added to the already well-lit fire during the 2013 play-off semi-final, when Brighton were accused of sabotaging their opponents after a poo was found on the away dressing room floor - however it was eventually revealed that it was Palace’s own bus driver that had done the dirty.

Who are the favourites to win tonight’s match?

Crystal Palace have mostly enjoyed the bragging rights in recent years and are unbeaten in their last four meetings (W2 D2) and have lost only one of the derby clashes at Selhurst Park since 2005.

However, it is the Seagulls’ form this season that has resulted in them being favourites to come out on top this evening.

Graham Potter’s side have won four and lost one this season and could go top of the Premier League if they are to win at Selhurst Park.

Sky Bet have the visitors at 6/4 to take the victory, while Crystal Palace are 19/10 to win.