Brighton host Leeds United at the Amex on Saturday evening, as both sides desperately seek a Premier League win.
Following a very promising to the campaign, Graham Potter’s side have really struggled of late. The Seagulls have gone eight fixtures without victory across all competitions and have failed to win in their previous seven league outings, most recently falling to defeat at Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa.
Their visitors are a Leeds side who languish precariously above the drop zone. Currently sitting 17th in the Premier League table, Marcelo Bielsa’s men have won just once in their last five league games, losing three in that time. That lonely victory came away at struggling Norwich, while they most recently fell to defeat at Tottenham.
Here’s 90min’s preview of this one.
When is kick off? Saturday 27 November, 17:30 (GMT)
Where is it being played? The American Express Community Stadium, Brighton
What TV channel is it on? Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Premier League (UK), fuboTV (US)
Highlights? Sky Sports Football YouTube channel, BBC Match of the Day (UK)
Who’s the referee? Craig Pawson
Who’s the VAR? Jarred Gillett
Danny Welbeck will once again be out of contention as he continues his recovery from a hamstring problem. Meanwhile, Enock Mwepu, who missed his side’s trip to Villa Park, will likely remain absent due to muscle strain.
The club shared some good news during the week, picturing Steven Alzate back on the training pitch following the ankle injury he sustained back in September. The Colombia international has been working alone, however, ruling out a return to match action just yet.
Tariq Lamptey was taken off with ten minutes to go at Villa Park last time out, although that decision was precautionary according to Potter. The full-back is continuing his return to full sharpness after a long-term hamstring issue.
Yves Bissouma is also working his way back to full fitness, although managed the full 90 minutes in the Seagulls trip to the Midlands and should continue at the heart of Potter’s midfield, having played excellently in that 2-0 defeat.
Goalkeeper Robert Sanchez will be available for selection again after seeing red in Brighton’s 1-1 draw with Newcastle before the international break.
Bielsa was handed a huge boost this week as Patrick Bamford, Luke Ayling, Rodrigo and Raphinha all returned to training following their respective problems. While a start may be too soon for Bamford or Ayling, the latter two should be fit to feature having missed the trip to Spurs last time out.
Pascal Struijk struggled with a rib problem throughout the Whites’ trip to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which could see Junior Firpo come back into the side at left-back.
There was concern for Kalvin Phillips as he sustained a head injury recently, although the England international squashed any doubts with an immediate return to training and will inevitably feature once more at Brighton.
Meanwhile, Jamie Shackleton and Crysencio Summerville are doubts. Their readiness for the weekend’s fixture will have to be determined closer to the date.
Brighton: Sanchez; Webster, Duffy, Dunk; Lamptey, MacAllister, Bissouma, Lallana, Cucurella; Trossard Maupay
Leeds: Meslier; Dallas, Llorente, Cooper, Firpo; Phillips, Forshaw; Raphinha, Rodrigo, Harrison; James
The history between these two clubs could not have yielded a more even record. Both sides have managed 18 wins against each other, while drawing 11 times.
It’s been an up and down fixture over the years, with the majority of meetings taking place outside of the top flight – mostly in the second tier. Their record in the old Division One was identical – both winning two and drawing two – although recent encounters have favoured the Seagulls.
Brighton have won eight of their last nine fixtures against Leeds, with the only two Premier League encounters – both occurring last campaign – ending in Potter’s side’s advantage with a 3-0 aggregate scoreline.
The hosts have dominated this fixture in recent years, although come into this latest encounter in even worse form than 17th-placed Leeds.
While not performing dreadfully, the Seagulls have simply struggled to find the clinical form that promised so much in the early stages of the campaign. Under the supervision of someone like Potter, however, you can never rule out a clean and efficient performance appearing just around the corner.
Leeds will be desperate that that doesn’t happen too soon. Sitting two points above the danger zone and just above a newly rejuvenated Burnley side, Bielsa’s men have to start picking up crucial results. They showed good signs against Spurs, dominating the first half, and must replicate that kind of performance here.
With both clubs in need of a big win, however, the spoils could be shared in this one.
Prediction: Brighton 2-2 Leeds