Four In A Row: Familiar Faces
Brighton & Hove Albion make their third visit to St James’s Park in as many seasons on Saturday afternoon, and Newcastle United’s forward line could come up against some familiar faces in front of their home fans. The Seagulls have fielded the same four players in defence in each of their visits across the Championship and Premier League, with Bruno, Shane Duffy, Lewis Dunk and Gaetan Bong starting against the Magpies. The above quartet found themselves side-by-side for the first time this season when Chris Hughton’s team claimed a 1-0 victory against West Ham United, which was also the team’s first clean sheet of the campaign. The 2016 second-tier visit was in fact the first time the four players made up Albion’s backline, as Duffy came into the side for his first appearance since joining from Blackburn Rovers. Goals from Jamaal Lascelles and Jonjo Shelvey sealed a 2-0 victory for the Magpies that day, after Sam Baldock was sent off in the second half, but the Seagulls claimed a point from their next outing. Albion’s centre-back pairing of Duffy and Dunk came closest to breaking the deadlock when Hughton’s team travelled north in the Premier League, but neither side were able to find a winning goal in December. It was one of six clean sheets the group of four kept for the Seagulls throughout their debut season in the Premier League, following the eight shutouts they managed together in the club’s promotion-winning season to the top flight. If Hughton decides to name the same four players in defence for Saturday’s game at St James’ Park, it will complete a hat-trick for the quartet, who have adapted together during Albion’s recent rise.