The Magpies have matchday 25 visitors in form of Roberto De Zerbi’s Brighton cruise to the St. James Park and drop by for an intriguing top-half-of-the-table encounter on Thursday night.
It’s a long overdue match-up for Eddie Howe and his squad, the game having to be postponed to make room for Newcastle’s Carabao Cup final match against Manchester United on February 26 which they eventually lost 2-0 thanks to goals from Casemiro and Marcus Rashford.
It’s also an A-lister fixture between both sides who are vying for participation in the UEFA Champions League next season with Newcastle’s attempts being only slightly more realistic than Thursday’s opponents’.
The Magpies have definitely had a wonderful season, obvious for all to see and are looking to run away with a spot in the top four. They have only conceded seven defeats so far, not an impressive record for an elite club but decent for a club of their status. It even gets better when taken into consideration that five of those seven losses have come against the big boys of the EPL; Liverpool twice, City, United and Arsenal all once. The most recent defeat came at the hands of Unai Emery’s Aston Villa who are themselves in second gear and are prospective participants for the Europa league next campaign.
Newcastle have amassed a total of 66 points in 35 games played so far, with 18 wins, 12 draws and five wins in the bag. They sit in third, fifteen points adrift the near-end title race between The Gunners(81) and Manchester City(85)
Their opponents, Brighton come through in sixth position, six points behind The Magpies although with a game more to play. Sitting as bridges between both teams are Erik Ten Hag’s Manchester United and Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in fourth and fifth respectively. United are on level terms with Newcastle on 66 points and just a single point ahead of The Reds(65). The circuit for the race to top four happens to be a little crowded at this point and for Newcastle to see their ambitions through, they must stay alert for the remainder of the league. A loss to De Zerbi’s side would be unforgivable for them, it would see United leapfrog them into third while Liverpool and Brighton breath heavily down their necks. A draw won’t be so disastrous, but would regardless hurt their chances of finishing above either red outfit.
A win would be most welcome, help them inch closer to safety with a lot of pressure off their necks and would see them needing just two more points or an additional win over Leicester City on May 22 means they get to celebrate UCL qualification with the game against Chelsea still in hand.
The Magpies know just how important and crucial this moment is for them, vying to make their first appearance in Europe since 2013, the Champions League for the first time since 2003 and the third time in their history.
Brighton and Hove Albion themselves are pushing for Europe where they have never made an appearance before. A couple of good performances(notably 3-0 and 1-0 wins against Arsenal and Manchester United) have seen the seagulls surge on the table from just being within the first half to being a contestant for Europe.De Zerbi’s men have an advantage over every Premier League side this season, having played the fewest number of games(34) compared to all others. Only Manchester City, Newcastle, United and Chelsea have played one more at 35 with the rest of the pack tallied at 36. Should Brighton win the game against Eddie Howe’s men on Thursday evening, the race would get intensified in the 3rd to 6th region. Winning both games in hand, The Seagulls would move up to just a point behind Liverpool.
Newcastle vs Brighton H2H
Games played: 13
Newcastle: 3 wins
Brighton: 4 wins
Games drawn: 6
Newcastle: 3rd in the league, 66 points, 18-12-5
Brighton: 6th in the league, 58 points, 17-7-10
Past five encounters:
Brighton 0-0 Newcastle (13-08-2022)
Newcastle 2-1 Brighton (05-03-2022)
Brighton 1-1 Newcastle (06-11-2021)
Brighton 3-0 Newcastle (20-03-2021)
Newcastle 0-3 Brighton (20-09-2020)
Newcastle vs Brighton past five games:
(H) 6-1 Tottenham (23-04-2023)
(A) 4-1 Everton (27-04-2023)
(H) 3-1 Southampton (30-04-2023)
(H) 0-2 Arsenal (07-05-2023)
(A) 2-2 Leeds United (13-05-2023)
(A) 1-3 Nottingham Forest (26-04-2023)
(H) 6-0 Wolves (29-04-2023)
(H) 1-0 Manchester United (04-05-2023)
(H) 1-5 Everton (08-05-2023)
(A) 3-0 Arsenal (14-05-2023)
Newcastle vs Brighton key stats:
- Brighton have suffered only one defeat to the Magpies in their past five meetings. They have won twice and drawn twice.
- In the past five times The Seagulls have visited St. James Park, they have lost only one of those meetings, a 2-1 defeat in May 2022.
- The Magpies have lost once in their past five fixtures on home soil, a 2-0 defeat to Arsenal
- Eddie Howe holds a decent record against The Seagulls. In all 19 matches managed against Brighton (as the coach of Bournemouth, Newcastle and Burnley), he has won ten times, drawn six times and lost thrice.
- Out of seven losses in total for The Magpies this season, five have come against teams who are in the top six(Liverpool twice, City, Arsenal and United) where Brighton currently stand. The seventh and most recent was at the hands of Aston Villa who were previously in the top six region.
Last time out:
Brighton vs Newcastle:
Brighton versus Newcastle served as the league opening fixture for both sides. None could come away with a win with The Seagulls especially ravaging on the attack. Nick Pope was excellent in goal, pulling a couple of saves to deny the likes of Solly March.
Arsenal vs Brighton:
Brighton ran riot last time out in the Premier League, coming away with a crucial 3-0 win over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. The visitors absorbed Arsenal’s pressure, the home side squandering a good number of chances before goals from Enciso, Undav and Estupian handed all three points to De Zerbi’s men.
Leeds United vs Newcastle:
A four-goal encounter at the Elland Road in which both sides could only take a point each. Leeds went ahead through Luke Ayling’s rebound in the seventh minute after Rodrigo’s header had been saved. Leeds missed a chance to double the lead after Joelinton had brought down Junior Firpo in the area, with Bamford seeing his penalty kick saved by Nick Pope before Callum Wilson converted a spot-kick of his on the other end of the pitch. A handball situation in the second-half saw Wilson slide down another 12-yard kick into the net but Leeds scored a leveller through Rasmus Kristensen’s effort from just outside the box a dozen minutes later.
Newcastle vs Brighton Injuries and suspensions:
Sustained a hamstring injury in Brighton’s 5-1 defeat to Everton prior to the game at Arsenal. Ruled out till the end of the season.
Suffered a fractured metatarsal while on duty for Ecuador against Australia during the international break. Ruled out till the end of the season.
Adam Lallana: Picked up a serious hamstring injury a couple of months back. Unavailable for the trip to St. James Park
Tariq Lamptey: Continues to be sidelined after coming off with a knee injury in the 4-0 win over West Ham in early March.
Joel Veltman: Got re-injured in the 6-0 home annihilation of Wolves. Has been struggling with fitness since the win against Chelsea.
Adam Webster: Continues to nurse an ankle ligament injury sustained in February against Burnley
Jakub Moder: Injured long-term, ruled out since April last year due to an ACL injury.
Emil Krafth: Sustained a knee injury in early August. Ruled out till the end of this season.
Jamaal Lascelles: Remains unavailable for the Magpies after picking up a calf injury a couple of weeks ago.
Sean Longstaff: Unavailable for selection against Brighton. Sustained a foot injury against Everton.
Matt Richie: Picked up an ankle injury a couple of weeks ago and will be sidelined till the end of the season.
Jacob Murphy: Bothered by injury niggles. Doubtful for the clash against The Seagulls.
4-3-3: Pope, Burn, Botman, Schär, Trippier, Willock, Guimarães, Joelinton, Isak, Almirón, Wilson.
4-2-3-1: Steele, Estupiñán, Colwill, Dunk, Caicedo, Gilmour, Gross, Enciso, Mac Allister, Mitoma, Ferguson.