Twitter Facebook Reddit > Move Quiz content up, add whatsapp WhatsApp Brighton host Burnley with both clubs locked together on four points apiece after four Premier League games. Steve Rawlings assesses the two sides ahead of Saturday's south coast sizzler here…
“Given hes picked up from where he left off last season, with four goals in the first four Premier League games, Ashley Barnes to score against his former club might be worth chancing.”
Brightons safety in the Premier League last season was only confirmed during the penultimate round of fixtures, with the clubs total of 36 points from 38 games prompting the board to part ways with Chris Hughton, who had been at the helm since 2014.
Brighton finished last season in disarray. They failed to win any of their last nine fixtures and avoided the drop by just two points. At round the 7/2 mark to be relegated, they went to the top of my ante-post shopping list for this season but when manager, Chris Hughton, was sacked and they shortened up to 2/1, I changed my mind.
The Hughton dismissal was widely criticized and the market considered relegation a more plausible occurrence with his replacement, Graham Potter, at the helm. I didnt understand that logic and I still dont. The Seagulls had become a tense team, frightened to lose and devoid of an attacking threat under Hughton and were already starting to see the green shoots of a recovery under Potter.
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By all accounts, Brighton were superb on the opening weekend of the season, beating Watford 3-0 away, and their performances since have been better than their results.
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They were the superior side at home to West Ham when drawing 1-1 and they were arguably unfortunate to lose 2-0 to Southampton at the Amex in their third Premier League fixture. They were down to ten men when Florin Andone was sent off after half-an-hour and having had a Lewis Dunk goal disallowed shortly after the dismissal they went toe-to-toe with the Saints despite being down to ten but they were caught out on the break.
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A 2-1 victory away at Bristol Rovers in the League Cup was followed by a 4-0 defeat at Manchester City but I was at that game and the score-line flattered the champions.
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The defence had the confidence to repeatedly play out from the back against the strong City press and the Seagulls create a number of a decent chances. They played with composure throughout, having as much as 46.5% of the possession, and Ive absolutely no idea how this incredible piece of skill by Dan Burn, which was appreciated by Sergio Aguero and quite rightly applauded by the whole stadium, was omitted from the Match of the Day highlights!
Looks like @aguerosergiokun appreciated that from Burn on Saturday! #mancity pic.twitter.com/zYSjKSCuN8
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Brighton are going in the right direction under Potter and Im glad I didnt jump in early and back them for the drop.
Like Brighton, Burnley also began the season with a 3-0 win (at home to Southampton) but they too have only picked up one more point. And again, just like Brighton, they havent quite got what theyve deserved.
Although they had 18 shots to Arsenals 16, Burnley manager, Sean Dyche, had no complaints about their 2-1 defeat at the Emirates in their second game of the season but they were unlucky not to claim all three points away at Wolves, when Raul Jimenez converted a 97th minute penalty to make it 1-1, and they were going toe-to-toe with Liverpool at Turf Moor before a bizarre Chris Wood own goal saw the visitors take the lead. Liverpool doubled their lead just four minutes later before going on to win 3-0 but all-in-all, Burnley have started the season fairly well and much better than they did last season when Europa Cup involvement hindered their Premier League campaign.
The Clarets started so slowly last season that they won just three of their first 19 games and at the halfway point, after a 1-5 home defeat to Everton on Boxing Day, they were languishing in the bottom three but they turned it all around after that, thanks mainly to a combined 22 goals by Ashley Barnes (12) and Chris Wood.
Both find themselves on four points after four games having recorded one victory and one draw each, making Saturday’s encounter an unpredictable contest.
Burnley lost four-in-a-row after an unbeaten run of eight games in the new year and they finished the season tamely with three defeats but theyd done enough – finishing 15th.
Having been so impressed with Brighton at the Etihad, Im keen to keep them onside going forward and Im not in the least bit surprised to see that theyve shortened up in the outright market here but theyre too short now at just a shade of odds-against.
As promising as things appear under Potter, the fact remains that Brighton have picked up just 15 points in 22 Premier League matches in 2019 (W3 D6 L13), eight fewer than any other side to have played in the top-flight in 2018-19 and 2019-20, and theyve won just once at home this year – against Huddersfield (1-0) back in March.
Add in their poor recent record against Burnley – they lost both Premier League encounters last season and they havent beaten the Clarets in any of their last seven meetings – and the fact that promising new signing, Leandro Trossard, is an injury doubt, and my desire to get with the home side diminishes further.
Both teams began the season with 3-0 wins, both drew 1-1 in matches they arguably should have won, both have four points from four games so far and after putting up respectable performances, both have been beaten by the two teams that were clear of the remainder last season – City and Liverpool.
Prior to Burnleys double last season, the two sides drew five in-a-row, they look very closely matched on paper and they could well finish up on the same points tally after Saturdays encounter so the draw looks to represent a bit of value in the outright market and given hes picked up from where he left off last season, with four goals in the first four Premier League games, Ashley Barnes to score against his former club might be worth chancing too.
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Potter, who took over at the Amex Stadium from Chris Hughton in the summer, is four games into his Premier League career, after a season with Swansea City, and a remarkable spell with Östersund.
He guided them from the fourth tier of Swedish football to the top flight for the first time in their history, as well as a Swedish Cup, and a place in the Europa League, besting Galatasaray and Arsenal along the way.
And he said, of the challenge the Clarets pose, ahead of Saturdays clash at the Amex Stadium: Tough game against a team I really like.
They use the centre forwards in a good way, but at the same time they can play through the midfield and create chances.
We have to do what weve been doing and try and improve. Its nice to get back after a break and Im looking forward to the match.
Brighton have shipped six goals in their last two games, and Potter is well aware of the threat Burnley possess, with former Seagulls striker Ashley Barnes scoring four in the first four games: It makes it easier if you can keep a clean sheet.