Brighton & Hove Albion and Newcastle United will be looking to break their respective winless streaks during Saturday’s Premier League encounter at the Amex Stadium.

Premier League is back with Matchday 11 this weekend before the third international break of the campaign. And Brighton & Hove Albion will be playing hosts to a struggling Newcastle United side on Saturday afternoon.

Brighton started the season in a brilliant fashion, winning all but one of their opening seven games in all competitions. Since then, the Seagulls’ star has been waned a bit, as they have gone winless in their previous six games. But Graham Potter & co. will be buoyed by their inspiring comeback at Anfield last time out.

Enock Mwepu’s wonder strike and a well-worked Leandro Trossard goal in the second half cancelled out strikes from Jordan Henderson and Sadio Mane to stun the home side. While a point at Anfield is highly respected, Brighton’s winless run extends to five Premier League games, four of which have been draws. The Seagulls have now dropped to eighth place in the league standings ahead of the international break.

Newcastle, meanwhile, are coming on the back of a poor 3-0 thrashing against Chelsea last weekend. The Magpies’ bravely held the European Champions for an hour before crumbling haplessly as Reece James’ two powerful strikes and a Jorginho penalty wrapped up three points for the Blues at St. James’ Park.

The result means the Toon are one of the only two teams yet to register a win in the 2021/22 Premier League campaign after ten matchweeks. Newcastle will look to win their first league game of the season in the 11th attempt when they travel to Brighton, as their current winless streak sees them floundering 19th in the table with four points. Ahead of their critical encounter at Brighton, The Hard Tackle takes a close at both sides.

Team News & Tactics

Brighton & Hove Albion

Brighton boss Graham Potter does not have any fresh injury concerns following their 2-2 draw a Anfield, with Danny Welbeck and Dan Burn remaining the only long-term absentees while midfielder Steven Alzate will be sidelined until 2022 after undergoing surgery to treat an ankle problem.

Potter should stick with a 4-2-3-1 formation here, with Neal Maupay again starting on the bench. Spanish international Robert Sanchez is set to start in goal. Guarding him will be the centre-back pairing of Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy.

Joel Veltman should retain his right-back spot ahead of Tariq Lamptey to offer solidity and overlapping options on the flank, while summer arrival Marc Cucurella ought to provide the attacking impetus on the other side. Yves Bissouma should partner Enock Mwepu in the engine room once again.

Yves Bissouma’s presence offers Brighton control in the middle of the park with his ball-winning and ball-carrying ability; the Malian enforcer complements Mwepu’s box to box presence. The trio of Solly March, Adam Lallana and Jakub Moder will sit just behind the sole marksman in Leandro Trossard.

Lallana will again be the creative fulcrum for Potter’s side. Moder and March are good at executing interplays and quick exchanges. They will provide width and penetration to the flanks. Trossard excelled in the false-nine role against Liverpool, exploiting the open spaces, and he will be aiming for similar joy in this encounter.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Sanchez; Veltman, Dunk, Duffy, Cucurella; Mwepu, Bissouma; March, Lallana, Moder; Trossard

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Newcastle United

Following all of the speculation surrounding Newcastle’s vacant managerial position over the week, the Magpies are finally looking to be closing on Eddie Howe after agreeing on a deal in principle. But that will not change anything on the pitch against Brighton, as caretaker-boss Graeme Jones looks set to lead the charge from the Newcastle dugout at Amex.

The Tyneside outfit appeared to be very conservative in Jones’ five-at-the-back system, but they need that extra cover, considering their defensive vulnerabilities. They might set up in the same 5-3-2 formation on Saturday with several personnel changes. Newcastle have an almost full-strength squad for the Brighton trip, with Paul Dummett (Calf) the only injury absentee.

Martin Dubravka could start between the sticks in this game ahead of Karl Darlow, who would be relegated to the bench after conceding a poor penalty in the Chelsea game. Newcastle could opt for a three-man backline of Ciaran Clark, Jamaal Lascelles and Emil Krafth for this game, they will have the responsibility to hold a compact defensive shape and keep things solid at the back to eke out a result for their side.

Matt Ritchie and Javier Manquillo will operate in their respective wing-back roles. They are likely to be pinned back by Brighton’s attacking fullbacks but will look to deliver several good crosses into the box for their attackers to work with.

Miguel Almiron and Joe Willock could return to the starting XI at the expense of Ryan Fraser and Sean Longstaff, with Isaac Hayden joining them as a midfield enforcer. Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson have to be effective in a front-two with the limited set of goal-scoring opportunities provided to them by the supporting cast.

Probable Lineup (5-3-2): Dubravka; Manquillo, Krafth, Lascelles, Clark, Ritchie; Willock, Hayden, Almiron; Saint-Maximin, Wilson

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Key Stats

  • Brighton won 3-0 against Newcastle in the corresponding fixture, and the Magpies are currently winless in eight top-flight meetings with Brighton since both sides achieved promotion back to the top tier back in 2017-18 season.
  • Newcastle United have the second-worst defensive record in the Premier League. They haven’t preserved a clean sheet this season and have let in 23 goals in 10 league games.
  • The Seagulls were always anticipated to tumble off the track as winter approached, but the inspiring comeback on Merseyside demonstrates that there’s more steel to this Brighton outfit, who have only lost two league games all season.
  • Brighton & Hove Albion have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last three games.
  • The Seagulls boast a solid track record at home and have only lost two of their past 10 Premier League clashes at the Amex.
  • Newcastle United talisman Callum Wilson has a good record against Brighton, having scored four goals and assisted three in eight appearances.

Player to Watch

Leandro Trossard

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Neal Maupay has always flattered to deceive as a capable goalscorer, and this has forced Potter to make frequent changes in the striking positions. However, a recent tactical tweak has made one player even more efficient, Leandro Trossard. Indeed, the Belgian is thriving in the new role. Usually utilised as a winger, Potter has used him in a more central position, and the facts suggest the positional shift is working wonders.

Fresh from scoring the equalizer against Liverpool, the 26-year-old is producing some of his career-best underlying numbers, averaging 2.6 shots per game (a big increase from last season’s 1.7), completing more dribbles (2.2 per game up from 1.1). Being in a more central area is allowing him to contribute more in terms of defensive output (pressing, tackles and interceptions) and in chance creation. If he continues on this trajectory, he will be a key component of Brighton’s success this season.

Prediction

Brighton & Hove Albion 1-1 Newcastle United

This fixture has favoured Brighton in recent years. They have netted a combined six goals in the last two meetings against Newcastle and considering the Magpies’ porous backline, the Seagulls will be fairly optimistic about bagging all three points from this game.

Newcastle are in a precarious position in the league standings, and with another international break looming around, they desperately need some kind of result to restore their confidence ahead of relegation six-pointer against Norwich in a fortnight’s time.

A determined fight is expected from the Magpies to scramble out a result out of this one. The Hard Tackle predicts Newcastle to come away with a hard-earned point while Brighton will have to share the spoils in a 1-1 draw at Amex.

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