Brighton v Newcastle
Tuesday 28th February, 19:45
Live on Sky Sports 1
Brighton clinically ended Reading’s outside hopes of automatic promotion on Saturday with a powerful 3-0 triumph at the Amex. Chris Hughton‘s charges pressed high out of possession whilst staying compact and disciplined in their own third to restrict their ball-playing visitors from picking a route through.
The Seasiders were potent on the counter-attack and goals from Sam Baldock, Jamie Murphy and Anthony Knockaert took Albion back to the top of the table. It means Brighton now have four players in double figures for goals the first time since promotion to the top-flight for the only time in their history in 1978/79.
The hosts expect left-back Seb Pocognoli to shake off an injury to start on Tuesday night with first-choice Gaetan Bong and Liam Rosenior both absent. Fikayo Tomori is on standby for the Seagulls.
Newcastle recovered from a woeful first-half display in which they gifted relegation-threatened Bristol City a two-goal lead to collect a 2-2 draw at St James’ Park on Saturday, surrendering their position at the summit of the Championship.
Rafa Benitez‘s boys improved immeasurably after the interval with Christian Atsu and Matt Ritchie driving the Toon forward. However, Aleksandar Mitrovic’s lack of confidence and Ayoze Perez’s inconsistency, combined with Karl Darlow and Paul Dummett’s lack of communication at the back, frustrated fans.
The division’s top goalscorer, Dwight Gayle, trained at the weekend following a recurrence of hamstring trouble and a late decision will be made on his possible involvement. But midfielder Isaac Hayden is out for several weeks.
Brighton‘s only defeat in their last seven matches against Newcastle in all competitions (W4-D2-L1) came earlier this campaign at St. James’ Park but the Seagulls will be looking to stretch an impressive Tuesday evening record here.
The Seasiders [2.64] have suffered a sole reverse in their past 19 home league games on a Tuesday (W14-D4-L1) and come into this encounter having only suffered two defeats in 27 Championship outings (W19-D6-L2).
At the Amex, Hughton’s overseen a wonderful 34/63 (54%) win record since the start of last season, including 25 (40%) clean sheets. And lately, Brighton have recorded W20-D6-L1 on home turf with 10 of their past 13 home victories arriving ‘to nil’.
Albion have won all seven of their meetings at home against fellow top-nine sides this term and also boast a 100% record when opening the scoring – W18-D0-L0 – in league action.
The first goal could prove crucial as Newcastle [3.10] have W0-D1-L6 when conceding the first goal since relegation but the Magpies arrive unbeaten in eight and in possession of the league’s best away record (W11-D2-L3).
The visitors drew just one of their first 27 league games this term but have since been held to a point apiece in three of their last six Championship games, suggesting there’s value in the stalemate at [3.30].
Over/Under 2.5 Goals
Nine of Brighton’s past 13 league fixtures have featured at least three goals and with eight of their 11 duels against top-eight clubs this season also breaking the Over 2.5 Goals barrier, there’s value in [2.38] quotes on a repeat here.
Newcastle have followed suit in five of their most recent eight league outings with exactly half of their eight games against the top-eight also paying-out for Over 2.5 Goals punters.
However, only 6/16 (38%) of the Magpies’ matches on their travels overall have surpassed the two-goal line and collectively these two teams have conceded just 53 goals in 66 league fixtures – 0.80 goals per-game.
With so much at stake, it’s perhaps unsurprising to see Under 2.5 Goals quoted at a prohibitively short [1.71] so I’m happy to swerve the goals market despite the obvious case for a value selection on goals.
Back the draw @ [3.30]