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Brighton vs Newcastle Preview
Brighton will look to get as far away as possible from the relegation zone when they welcome Newcastle United to the Amex Stadium in the Premier League on Saturday.
The Seagulls have gone off the boil in recent months, resulting in a fight for survival in the final games of the season. They are currently 17th in the Premier League table with 34 points, a 3-point lead over 18th-placed Cardiff.
Thus, the margin for error is pretty slim. While Chris Hughton’s side have a much superior goal difference (-22) when compared to Cardiff’s (-35), a quick look at the fixtures reveals the actual problem.
After facing Newcastle, Brighton play Arsenal away and Manchester City at home in the final two games. On the other hand, Cardiff’s last three games are against relegated Fulham, a Crystal Palace side with nothing to play for and Manchester United.
Neil Warnock’s side will potentially look to pick 6 points in their next two games before the United clash to give themselves a genuine chance of surviving. To deal with that, Brighton need a minimum of 3 points and Newcastle at home is the perfect opportunity for them.Embed from Getty Images
The Seagulls did arrest their slide a bit in the previous two games, holding Wolves in their backyard and almost doing the same to Tottenham, until Christian Eriksen scored a late winner. Thus, Hughton will be happy as his side tightens their back-line once again for the final stretch.
However, their opponents are no slouches either. Rafa Benitez’s side are safe from relegation and will play in the PL next season. They are currently in 13th place with 41 points from 35 games. They won their previous game against Southampton 3-1, thanks to a superb hat-trick from Ayoze Perez.Embed from Getty Images
Newcastle have nothing to play for at the moment, except for trying to finish as high as possible with 11-placed West Ham just a couple of points away. Nevertheless, Benitez will not let his player’s focus drop and will look to get a result out of this game.
Injuries and Suspensions
Brighton will welcome the return of attacker Anthony Knockaert, who missed their last three games due to suspension. While Jason Steele remains sidelined, midfielder Davy Propper is a doubt after picking up a hamstring injury over the weekend.
Newcastle will be without midfielder Sean Longstaff and defender Florian Lejeune once again as they are out for the season. January acquisition Miguel Almiron picked up a hamstring injury and is set to miss the rest of the season as well.
Centre-back Fabian Schar picked up a buttock injury and could be set for a late fitness test. Finally, midfielder Isaac Hayden is another doubt for the game as he nurses a hip injury.
The recent head-to-head is firmly in favor of the hosts with Brighton unbeaten against Newcastle in their last three games. Further, Hughton’s side have won the reverse fixture 1-0 as well.
Brighton vs Newcastle Prediction
The Seagulls have failed to find the back of the net in their last seven games and are winless in their previous eight games. Newcastle’s poor away record complements their wretched run. The Magpies have just one away win in their last eight games on the road and only have three wins on their travels in the PL this season.
Furthermore, both sides have failed to keep a clean sheet in 6 of their last seven games. However, the past seven meetings between the two have resulted in just ten goals, and one of the teams was shut out in 6 of those seven games.
Taking all these factors into consideration, a draw looks the most likely scenario unless Brighton’s thirst for survival helps them find a way.
Total Goals: Under 2.5 @ 1.61 at Pinnacle Sports
Predicted Brighton XI: Ryan; Montoya, Duffy, Dunk, Bernardo; Bissouma, Stephens, March; Gross, Knockaert, Murray
Predicted Newcastle XI: Dubravka; Manquillo, Lascelles, Fernandez, Dummett, Ritchie; Perez, Ki, Diame; Rondon