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Match Previews

Match Preview: Brighton and Hove Albion vs Brentford

All the build-up to this evening's South Coast Clash

26 December 2021

THE OPPOSITION

Neal Maupay Brighton.jpg

Brighton and Hove Albion have slipped into some unwanted, old habits in recent months which have seen them embark on a gradual slide down the Premier League table. 

The wastefulness in front of goal which dogged them for much of last season has returned, with Brighton now winless in 12 since victory over Swansea City in the EFL Cup back in September. 

The fact they have only lost three of those 12 games, shows the fine margins Graham Potter's side have been working with over recent weeks. In fact, it's only the top three of Manchester City, Liverpool, and Chelsea who have lost fewer games than The Seagulls this term (four).

Defensively, they've only conceded 17 goals in 16 league matches, and give up the fourth fewest shots per game in the division (11.8), again only bettered by the sides that sit first, second, and third currently. 

In front of goal, they have only 14 goals to show for their efforts this season, the third lowest mark in the league. In 16 league games this season, they've failed to score on six occasions and only netted more than once three times. Former Bees favourite, Neal Maupay (above) leads their scoring charts with six for the season. 

THE GAMEPLAN

Writing for Hot Off The Press Sussex Live's Richie Mills, said: "[Graham Potter's] hands are somewhat tied by suspensions, injuries and Covid, but he has more often than not gone for three centre-backs and two wing-backs. So in defence will be Shane Duffy, Joel Veltman and, if Webster is not fit enough to start, Dan Burn, then the wing-backs will be the very potent duo of Marc Cucurella on the left and Tariq Lamptey, who has been brought back into the team after 10 months out with a hamstring injury and, in some games, has been absolutely brilliant. His pace, trickery and delivery into the box is something Brentford have really got to be wary of. Without Bissouma, the midfield will be interesting. If Gross is back from injury, I reckon he will be brought back in, with Adam Lallana a little bit further forward and Jakub Moder – a tall, roaming player – and then Trossard and Maupay, with Rob Sanchez in goal.

TEAM NEWS

Thomas Frank expects to have the same squad as he had against Chelsea which means David Raya, Julian Jeaniver (both knee), Charlie Goode, Kris Ajer, Tariqe Fosu, Zanka (all hamstring), and Josh Dasilva (hip) miss out. 

The Seagulls will be without Lewis Dunk (knee), Yves Bissouma (suspended) and Jeremy Sarmiento (thigh). Shane Duffy is back in contention following his one-match suspension, while Joel Veltman and Adam Webster will be assessed in the build-up. Danny Welbeck, Pascal Gross and Neal Maupay are back and available.

THE MANAGER

Graham Potter.jpg

Graham Potter's path to the Premier League is not one which many managers have followed.

Solihull-born Potter spent a decade in the lower leagues of English football, starting off at home-town Birmingham City before spells with Stoke City, Southampton, where he made eight Premier League appearances, West Bromwich Albion, York City, Boston United, and Macclesfield Town.

After making nearly 400 professional appearances, he retired in 2005 and, shortly after, graduated from the Open University with a degree in Social Sciences. Potter then spent five years working in University football, latterly combining his time as assistant coach at Leeds Metropolitan University with a masters in Leadership and Emotional Intelligence. 

In December 2010, he took charge of Östersund, then a fourth-division side in Sweden. He earned back-to-back league titles during his first two-years in charge before taking Östersund to the top flight in 2015. In April 2017, he guided OFK to the Swedish Cup and, later that year, made history with his side becoming the first Swedish club to progress beyond the Europa League group stage. Potter joined Swansea in June 2018 after nearly eight years in Sweden. 

He guided Swansea to tenth during his one season in charge before replacing Chris Hughton on the south coast in the summer of 2019.  

THE OPPOSITION VIEW

Writing in tonight's match programme, Graham Potter said: “Thomas Frank’s side have adjusted well to the demands of the Premier League and they certainly gave us a tough game at their new stadium earlier in the season. They play with real purpose, always on the front foot, which makes them difficult opponents, particularly on the counter-attack. We are well aware of the threat they will pose this evening.

"From our point of view, we’ll be looking to bounce back from the frustrations of the Wolves defeat here before Christmas. It was a difficult evening, given the challenges brought on by injury, illness and suspension, but I thought we were the better team in the first half. We then conceded a poor goal before half-time and just didn’t have the cutting edge needed to get back into the game.

THOMAS' THOUGHTS

LAST TIME OUT

THE OFFICIALS

Darren England 2.jpg

Referee: Darren England

Assistant Referees: Ed Smart and Mark Scholes

Fourth Official: Keith Stroud

Video Assistant Referee: John Brooks

Additional Video Assistant Referee: Adam Nunn

Brighton and Hove Albion 2021/22

164 fouls - 12th in Premier League

38 yellow cards - 3rd in Premier League

1 red cards - 4th in Premier League

MATCHDAY INFO

Fans attending the game are reminded that COVID-19 protocols are in place at all major outdoor events. Brentford supporters will need to show proof of their COVID status to gain entry. This is a condition of attendance.

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HOW TO FOLLOW

Tonight's game is live on Sky Sports Main Events, coverage starts at 7.45pm. For fans around the world, the game is being shown live through the Premier League's broadcast partners. Click here to see if the game is on where you are. 

Mark Burridge will also be bringing live commentary from The Amex on Bees Player. 

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