Stoke v Brighton: Home advantage to prove the difference in relegation clash

Chris Hughton's side have struggled on the road this year
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There is a big game towards the bottom of the Premier League this weekend as Stoke take on Brighton and Paul Robinson is favouring the hosts.

"Current manager, Paul Lambert, has taken charge of two home games since his arrival at the club and they are yet to concede a goal."

Back Stoke @ [2.24]

Stoke v Brighton
Saturday 10 February, 15:00 GMT


A must win encounter for Stoke

The Potters are back in the relegation zone following their 2-1 defeat at Bournemouth last weekend. They took an early lead thanks to Xherdan Shaqiri, but two goals in the final 20 minutes for the Cherries condemned Stoke to their fourth straight away defeat.

There are now three teams locked on 24 points in 17th to 19th place in the league, and West Ham in 12th only have 27. A couple of victories would do the world of good for any of the clubs down there and Paul Lambert will have earmarked this game as one of those given their following six fixtures - Leicester (a), Southampton (a), Man City (h), Everton (h), Arsenal (a) and Spurs (h).

The good news for Paul Lambert is that Jese Rodriguez is expected to be back in the squad following a spell on the sidelines, and while Darren Fletcher is fit again, it's not expected that the manager will make too many changes to his team, despite their loss on the south coast.


Travel sick Seagulls are not safe yet

The Seagulls are flying high following their 3-1 victory over West Ham last Saturday and it's now two wins and a draw from their last three outings in all competitions. Chris Hughton's side are through to the last 16 of the FA Cup - where they have a nice home draw against Coventry City - but more importantly, they are up to 13th in the Premier League standings.

As mentioned above though, the table is very compact in the bottom half and a loss against Stoke this weekend would mean that the two sides are level on points. They will be going into the game in a positive mindset after their recent set of results, but their away form has to be a concern.

Club-record signing, Jurgen Locadia, could be set to make his debut in this match, but it would most likely be from the bench as he isn't fully fit yet and the pairing of Glenn Murray and Pascal Gross have been performing well of late. Leonardo Ulloa is another option, but it would be surprising to see Hughton change a winning side.


Lambert to inspire a second home win

After studying the prices available in the match-odds market, I believe there to be a bit of value. The hosts are available to back at around the [2.24] mark and given the respective home and away form of either team, I have Stoke as even money shots at best.

Despite their lowly position in the table, Stoke have still won five of their 13 in front of their own fans this term - and three of those came from their last six home appearances.

Current manager, Paul Lambert, has taken charge of two home games since his arrival at the club and they are yet to concede a goal. He won his opener - a 2-0 success over Huddersfield, before drawing 0-0 against Chelsea's conquerors, Watford, 10 days ago.

The visitors are trading at around the [3.9] mark, but I can't see how they are that short when they have gone seven away games without a Premier League victory. Five of those seven were defeats, and they even failed to find the net in six of them. Their only goal did come last time out, but even that was a penalty.

I guess a possible angle could be the draw at [3.3], if you think that perhaps Brighton can get a 0-0. That doesn't really appeal to me in the slightest however, as Stoke will be throwing everything at them in order to pick up the three points ahead of a tricky fixture schedule.


Visitors to hinder goal backers

The market is quite clear when it comes to Over/Under 2.5 Goals. A low-scoring affair is heavily favoured with the under trading at [1.67] and the over at [2.42].

It's very hard to disagree with that as the stats don't lie and Brighton's matches are only averaging 2.15 goals each time this year. A total of 18 of their 26 have seen under 2.5 backers collect, and eight of those have come from their last eight on their travels.

Stoke's games have a higher average at the 3.0 mark, and while only nine of their 26 have had two goals or fewer, it is worth noting that their three latest outings on this ground have all gone under 2.5.

I am leaning more towards putting up a correct score as my additional selection for this game as [1.67] isn't very appealing. Given that Opta tells us that the Seagulls have scored fewer away goals than any other Premier League side this season (6), with half of those coming in one game (3-0 vs West Ham), it's worth thinking that they won't get on the scoresheet.

I quite like 2-0 at [12.0] as it is the same scoreline that Stoke beat Huddersfield by in their last home win and four of Brighton's last six away matches have finished 2-0 to the opposition.


Ref Watch

Bobby Madley is the official for this Saturday 3pm KO and it will be his 22nd game of the season. He has so far brandished 80 yellows and five reds, at an average of 4.05 cards per match. He has shown five or more cards in a third of his appearances this term and it wouldn't surprise me if this one had a fair few bookings.

***

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2017/18 P/L (1pt each bet)

Wagered: 50pts
Returned: 55.85pts
P/L: +5.85pts

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