Brighton v Bournemouth: Seagulls can soar to crucial victory

Brighton manager Graham Potter
Graham Potter's Brighton side are looking for a Christmas pick-me-up

With both teams hovering dangerously close to the drop zone, Graham Potter's hosts can take three vital points on Saturday says Andrew Atherley...

"Bournemouth's record of conceding on the road (and taking little when they do) is a strong negative."

Back Brighton off -1 on Asian handicap at 2.57

Brighton v Bournemouth
Saturday 28 December, 12:30
Live on Sky Sports

Festive losses

Brighton suffered their second defeat of the festive period with a 2-1 loss at Tottenham on Boxing Day, following Sheffield United's 1-0 win at the Amex last Saturday.

That leaves Graham Potter's side winless in four Premier League matches and they have dropped to 15th on 20 points, just two points above the drop zone.

Key defender Lewis Dunk missed the Tottenham game through illness but is likely to be available here. Neal Maupay and Leandro Trossard, both second-half substitutes on Boxing Day, are also set to return to the starting line-up.

Better news up front

Bournemouth are level on points with Brighton but one place below them in 16th following their 1-1 home draw with Arsenal on Boxing Day.

That result was another sign that Eddie Howe's side are emerging from their slump and there is better news up front with the recent returns of Josh King and Junior Stanislas, although the injury list remains long with Adam Smith, Charlie Daniels, Nathan Ake, David Brooks and Jordan Ibe among those still absent.

Cherries have high concession rate

Brighton have an even W3 D3 L3 record at the Amex and it is a little tricky to decipher exactly where their home form stands. Two of the defeats came against highflyers Leicester and Sheffield United (both to nil) but they have also lost to Southampton (0-2) and drawn with West Ham (1-1), although admittedly those last two results came in their first two home games when they were still adjusting to Potter's methods.

Their last six home results read well as their dropped points have been against Leicester, Sheffield United and Wolves (2-2) and they have won the other three against Tottenham (3-0), Everton (3-2) and Norwich (2-0).

One factor is whether Brighton score as all three defeats have been to nil and their last four scoring games at home have been three wins and a draw, all with at least two goals scored.

It is worth noting that Bournemouth have lost the last four away games in which they conceded and overall this season have a W2 D0 L5 record when conceding on the road.

Last season was similar for the Cherries, whose away record when conceding was W1 D1 L13 but with four wins out of four when they kept a clean sheet (including 5-0 here towards the end of last season).

Howe's side won to nil on their last away trip at Chelsea (1-0) and a similar performance cannot be ruled out but their record of conceding on the road (and taking little when they do) is a strong negative.

On balance Brighton are preferred but odds-on does not appeal that strongly and it is worth looking for a boost to the odds.

The pick is Brighton off -1 on the Asian handicap at 2.57, which comes off if they win by two goals or more with stakes returned if they win by a single goal.

With their recent good scoring record at home, it looks possible they could win by a clear margin.

Seagulls could push up score

Both teams are mid-table for games with over 2.5 goals and Bournemouth are similar for away games (56% over 2.5 goals) while Brighton's home games have tended to be lower scoring (33% over 2.5 goals).

Again, much depends on whether Brighton score. Three out of six of their scoring games at home have had over 2.5 goals while Bournemouth have had five out of seven over 2.5 goals on the road when conceding.

PREMIER LEAGUE 2019-20 P/L

Staked: 17pts
Return: 7.63pts
P/L: -9.37pts

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