As Saturday evening kick-offs go, this isn’t one to whet the appetite, especially at this stage of the season.
This game could well be a relegation six-pointer in April or May, but right more it’s little more than a ‘teams formerly managed by Chris Hughton’ derby.
Call us pessimistic, but Newcastle versus Brighton won’t end up in the pantheon of great Premier League games. Having said that, there’s still money to be made which should make up for the lack of quality on show.
Newcastle to win – 7/5
Things looked bleak after Newcastle were humbled by Norwich at Carrow Road in the second league game of the season. However, things are looking slightly less depressing three games later.
Firstly, the Magpies have picked up actual Premier League points thanks to an extremely unexpected win at Tottenham. Secondly, their subsequent draw with lowly Watford has ensured that they are not bottom of the league.
Lastly, Teemu Pukki has proved he is the second coming of Christ in the opening five games of the Premier League season and it’s no longer embarrassing to have conceded a hat-trick to him.
Brighton’s season has gone in the complete opposite direction to Newcastle’s.
The Seagulls are without a win since their opening day win at Watford, which came as a huge shock.
There was a feeling at the tail end of last season that the south coast club had just about done enough to survive and that they would probably fall through the trapdoor in 2020 unless there was a substantial change. Perhaps that is already beginning to unfold.
Newcastle have failed to beat Brighton since they both won promotion to the Premier League in 2017. That should change on Saturday.
Both teams to score? (No) – 20/23
Brighton have managed to score fewer goals in their last four league games than they did on the opening day at Vicarage Road.
Neal Maupay and Leandro Trossard were both brought in to bolster their attacking options and it remains to be seen whether either will the desired effect.
Newcastle’s sole victory this season was also built on the back of a strong defensive performance.
Steve Bruce has generally opted for a cautious approach with a rigid back five so far and there is no reason to think he’ll stray from that path on Saturday. The shackles will have to come off Newcastle at some stage, but Bruce seems intent on making them hard to beat before even considering style.
It should make for a relatively tight game, void of many significant goalscoring chances.
Joelinton to score anytime – 12/5
Newcastle actually have some decent players with potential. Whether Steve Bruce is the right man to guide them is a different matter altogether.
In terms of goalscoring options, however, Newcastle are decidedly light. Miguel Almiron has proved a huge disappointment in front of goal since his January move from Atlanta United, while Yoshinori Muto has been restricted to appearances from the bench.
The goalscoring burden, therefore, falls to their record signing Joelinton. The £40m man has only found the net once so far, but it was a crucial goal in Newcastle’s win at Tottenham. But, these are the types of games he needs to score in if he is to justify his hefty transfer fee.
Newcastle have scored just four times this season, with two of those goals coming from defenders and one coming from Jonjo Shelvey as a last-minute consolation in their chastening defeat to Norwich.
The likes of Joelinton need to step up if Newcastle are to avoid a third relegation in just over a decade.
* All odds correct at time of posting.