With Brighton in 13th it may be unfair to label this a battle at the bottom end of the table, but just three points separates Saturdays hosts from their visitors who sit in 17th place.
Brighton didn’t start at full strength for their FA Cup trip to Championship side West Brom. However several first team players still played an integral part, and even those who came off the bench endured more minutes than maybe they would’ve liked as the game went to extra time. In particular, Beram Kayal and Anthony Knockaert played the full 120 minutes at The Hawthorns and will no doubt still be feeling some of the effects.
It was one of those substitutes that made the difference, as the evergreen Glenn Murray lifted himself from the bench to find the net twice. Chris Hughton has already mentioned that the FA Cup is there for the taking, and with Brighton’s run continuing, they may just have their eye on it.
However, Hughton will be focusing his players on this crucial run of games where they face pretty much all of the sides around them in the table. Brighton can be under no illusions of their precarious position, they may be 13th but the gap to the dogfight is extremely tight and a win here would definitely ease some worries. With 120 minutes in the legs of some of the Brighton squad they could struggle as the game wears on. You can back the second half to feature the most goals at 2.2.
The Clarets head in to this tie off the back of some exceptional form and terrific individual results; they’re unbeaten in six Premier League outings, having won three and drawn three. The highlights were a superb 2-0 win over West Ham, and a draw against the newly revived Manchester United which could have so easily been a win.
Inconsistency has been Burnley’s problem, highlighted by freak results like the 5-1 home defeat to Everton. However this purple patch is their best form of the season so far and they’ll be keen to continue it against a Brighton side who are at the opposite end of the form table. By comparison, The Seagulls have just one win in their previous six league games and suffered a particularly disappointing defeat to Fulham. Where it was not just the defeat, but the manner in which it was inflicted as they shipped four goals at Craven Cottage.
Burnley are available as the outsiders at 3.75, draw no bet has great value too at 2.88.
Hope at home
Brighton’s points tally and position in the table is largely down to their form at the Amex Stadium. Of their 27 points, 19 of them have come on home turf. They have also conceded exactly half the number of goals at home as they have on their travels, with only the top four, Tottenham and Crystal Palace having a better defensive record at home this season.
They’ll take even more comfort from a glance at Burnley’s away record this campaign, just two wins in 13 outings and only 10 points in total. Even in their current run of form, Brighton will be eyeing this game as a real opportunity to get three points, and the ideal way to start their crucial run of fixtures. Following Saturday’s game, The Seasider’s face: Leicester, Huddersfield, Palace and Cardiff in succession, a solid points haul from these games could put them with in touching distance of theoretical safety.
Along with their better points tally at home, the advantage of The Amex brings with it another positive; it’s a happy hunting ground for their main marksman. After his two goals in midweek, Glenn Murray will be feeling a yard quicker and sharper heading in to this game. He has netted 10 times this season, and seven of those have been at home. You can back the Englishman to score first at 4.2 or anytime at 2.1.
Glenn Murray to score anytime @ 2.1
Over 1.5 goals @ 1.44
Draw and both teams to score @ 4.5