Brighton and Newcastle are both embroiled in the relegation battle making Saturday night's showdown a crucial contest in the fight for survival. Mark O'Haire previews the encounter.
"Newcastle have scored just 11 goals away from Tyneside this term, with 79% of their Premier League road trips rewarding Under 2.5 Goals as Steve Bruce’s side have taken a pragmatic approach on their travels."
Brighton v Newcastle
Saturday March 20, 20:00
Brighton bag vital victory
Brighton boss Graham Potter said Sunday's 2-1 victory over Southampton has given the Seagulls "renewed belief" they can retain their Premier League status. Leandro Trossard's emphatic finish settled an entertaining south-coast contest, Danny Welbeck's deft touch freeing the Belgium winger to stride into the box and lash home.
Victory halted a three-game losing streak for Potter's outfit, who climb a place to 16th above Saturday's opponents Newcastle, three points clear of 18th-placed Fulham and with a game in-hand. The Brighton boss said, "We've had to suffer recently but we got the reward for the performance. This three points gives us confidence and renewed belief."
The Seagulls had taken an early lead through skipper Lewis Dunk's powerful header from a corner before Che Adams' close-range volley ensured the Saints headed in level at the break. Adams came closest to a second equaliser for Southampton, but he was brilliantly denied by the outstretched leg of Brighton keeper Robert Sanchez.
Newcastle rescue late point
Jamaal Lascelles scored in stoppage time to rescue a point for Newcastle following a dramatic finale against Aston Villa at St James' Park last Friday. A largely dull encounter had looked destined to end goalless before Ollie Watkins' header deflected off Ciaran Clark and went in off the underside of the bar to put Villa ahead with just minutes remaining.
But Newcastle snatched a point when Lascelles headed in Jacob Murphy's cross in the last action of the game. It was arguably a deserved leveller for the hosts, who had been the better side for much of the game but just lacked quality in the final third. The Toon had also hit the bar through Murphy moments before Villa had taken the lead.
The point does little to ease Newcastle's relegation concerns but the fight shown to battle back after going behind so late pleased manager Steve Bruce, who said, "I thought it was going to be one of those cruel nights where you don't get something you deserved out of the game. The one thing I have to say is that the resilience of the players and their effort and endeavour I can't question. We are going to need it, every single ounce of it."
Brighton come into Saturday night's showdown unbeaten in their last seven Premier League meetings with Newcastle (W3-D4-L0), keeping six clean sheets in the process. The Seagulls were comfortable 3-0 winners at St James' Park last September, but have played out successive stalemates when welcoming the Magpies to their base on the south coast.
Brighton 1.715/7 have been the Premier League's biggest underachievers this season. Performance data rates the Seagulls fourth on Expected Points (xP) with the majority of Albion's underperformance arriving at The Amex, where only Manchester City have collected more xP. Results-wise, the hosts have returned just W1-D7-L6 at home.
Newcastle 6.6011/2 arrive on a run of just W2-D5-L10, dragging the Magpies headfirst into a relegation battle. If that wasn't bad enough, injuries have deprived the Toon of three of their best attackers - Callum Wilson, Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron - only seven of their 28 league goals were not scored or assisted by one of the injured trio.
Brighton's matches have rarely been high-scoring shootouts, particularly when facing bottom-third foes. The Seagulls have seen Under 2.5 Goals 1.705/7 land in seven of eight encounters with bottom-six rivals, only three of which produced Both Teams To Score 2.206/5 profit. Another tight tussle at The Amex is anticipated on Saturday night.
Newcastle have scored just 11 goals away from Tyneside this term, with 79% of their Premier League road trips rewarding Under 2.5 Goals as Steve Bruce's side have taken a pragmatic approach on their travels. With that in mind, the 1.768/11 on 'No' in the Both Teams To Score column holds plenty of appeal in a high-pressurised six-pointer.
Mark's 2020/21 Profit/Loss
Staked: 124.00 pts
Returned: 135.99 pts