TWO of the Premier League’s most underrated teams, Brighton and Hove Albion and Newcastle United, face off in what should be an entertaining and closely contested match in the late game at the Amex Stadium today.
As fate would have it, they are both coming off humbling outings – games that their faithful would say they should have won but lost.
Brighton, the team that have scored the most goals so far this season (nine in three matches), went down 3-1 to a West Ham United side that led the Premier League standings at the start of this weekend.
Newcastle’s defeat at home by Liverpool was a lot more painful.
They lost 2-1 after playing against 10 men for more than an hour and conceding two goals between the 81st and 93rd minutes.
Indeed, if the Magpies are to return from Brighton with anything, it will depend on Eddie Howe lifting his side after the heartbreak against Liverpool.
It was a devastating defeat that Howe himself said was hard to take. Yet it was Howe who led them to self-destruct.
His withdrawal of Sandro Tonali, Anthony Gordon and Joelinton left Newcastle shaky and exposed, and Liverpool took their chances.
He is unlikely to make the same mistakes against Brighton, who, like Newcastle, punched well above their weight last season and qualified to play in Europe this term.
Brighton, who lost key players in off-season transfers while making tonnes of cash at it, got off to a good start before the Hammers defeat. They scored four goals in each of their two opening fixtures and were being touted to do better than their sixth place finish in the 2022–23 campaign.
What makes Brighton so dangerous is their collectiveness in going forward and defending. But if you can counter-press like David Moyes got his Hammers to do last weekend, you can give them problems.
This is obviously what Howe will attempt today. But whether he succeeds or not remains to be seen.
What we can be assured of is a match where both sides will almost surely throw caution to the wind and seek to eke out a triumph, particularly after last weekend’s disasters.
In another featured match, Sheffield United and Everton clash at Bramall Lane in the early kick-off today. Neither side has a point to show this season, and Everton are without a goal. Many expected that to change for the Toffees, perhaps with a victory.
Liverpool are also expected to win when Aston Villa make the trip to Anfield tomorrow.