The Premier League returns to action this the weekend and few games are more important than Saturday afternoon’s 3 pm fixture between struggling Newcastle United and Brighton and Hove Albion.
Six points separate the clubs, and so I suspect both Rafael Benitez and Chris Hughton will be making sure their respective team selections are geared up to prevent a goal-fest.
For what it’s worth I am going to predict the game will finish as a 0-0 stalemate.
Sky Sports Paul Merson has other ideas.
“I watched Newcastle three weeks ago against Leicester, and they had one shot on target from 60 yards. Then they go to Manchester United, and they should have got something from the game. They’ll be kicking themselves that they didn’t get a positive result at Old Trafford. That defeat will have hurt, but they can take positives from what was, on the whole, a good performance.
“Brighton are not the best side away from the Amex Stadium. If I’m totally honest, they are very, very poor on the road. For that reason, I’m going to side with Newcastle in what will be like a cup final for them. It’s a must win for Rafael Benitez and his side.”
Paul predicts Newcastle will win by a slender 1-0.
BBC Sports football expert Mark Lawrenson seems to think the St James’ Park faithful will witness a brace of goals.
“Brighton got a good win against West Ham last time out, but their away form remains a problem – they have not won a Premier League game on the road since 4 November 2017.
“Even so, there is more pressure on Newcastle to win this than the Seagulls.
“But I think Rafa Benitez will take a lot positives from his side’s performance against Manchester United at Old Trafford, even if they did not get the result they wanted in the end.
“The Magpies have not picked up a single point at St James’ Park this season, but I am backing them to get off the mark in this game.”
“Longer-term, their prospects actually look quite similar to Brighton’s, in that I am not expecting either of these teams to be relegated. They will both be in the bottom eight, but towards the top end of it.”
Lawro thinks United will win 2-0.
How do you see the game going?