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Match Previews

PREVIEW: NEWCASTLE UNITED V ALBION

28 December 2017

Brighton & Hove Albion play their third game in a busy festive period when they take on Newcastle United at St James’ Park on Saturday afternoon, kick-off 3pm.

The Seagulls couldn’t make it two wins from two games after beating Watford 1-0 at the Amex before Christmas, as they fell to a 2-0 defeat against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day.

Albion took the points when the Magpies visited the Amex earlier this season, with Tomer Hemed’s second-half goal winning it for Chris Hughton’s team.

Newcastle head into the game on the back of five consecutive defeats at St James’ Park - most recently losing 1-0 to the current Premier League leaders, Manchester City.


TEAM NEWS:

Izzy Brown will be available for selection again after missing the Boxing Day visit to his parent club Chelsea, and Steve Sidwell (back) remains the only absentee for the Seagulls.

For Newcastle, midfielder Isaac Hayden is nearing a return to action after picking up a knock against West Ham United, but full-back Jesus Gamez (ankle) and striker Aleksandar Mirtovic (back) are expected to miss out.



REVERSE FIXTURE:

The Seagulls sealed back-to-back home victories in September with a narrow 1-0 victory over the Magpies on the south coast, following their first-ever Premier League win, against West Bromwich Albion.

Pascal Gross floated a free-kick to Dale Stephens at the back post, and after the midfielder headed down into the path of Hemed, the Israeli striker slammed home to leave Newcastle empty-handed.


FORM:

ALBION: Hughton’s side are searching for their first away point since taking maximum points against Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium at the beginning of November.

A goalless draw against Burnley ended a run of three consecutive defeats for the Seagulls, before they sealed victory over Watford at the Amex last Saturday.

But Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge continued Albion’s search for another victory on the road, with goals from Alvaro Morata and Marcos Alonso winning it for the Blues.


NEWCASTLE UNITED: Rafa Benitez’s team were edged out by Manchester City in the north-east on Wednesday evening, but the Magpies had previously beaten West Ham 3-2 at the London Stadium.

Four consecutive defeats came before their narrow win over the Hammers - a run that included games against Chelsea, Leicester City, Everton and Arsenal.

Newcastle’s last home victory came against Crystal Palace towards the end of October, but five defeats have followed and the Magpies will be looking to turn their form around against Albion on Saturday.


LAST TIME OUT: ALBION

CHELSEA 2
Morata 46
Alonso 60

ALBION 0

Albion line-up: Ryan; Schelotto, Duffy, Dunk, Suttner; March (Knockaert 82), Propper, Stephens, Kayal (Gross 73), Izquierdo; Hemed (Murray 79).

Subs not used: Krul (GK), Bruno, Goldson, Baldock



LAST TIME OUT: NEWCASTLE UNITED



NEWCASTLE UNITED 0

MANCHESTER CITY 1
Sterling 31


Newcastle United line-up: Elliot; Yedlin, Mbemba (Merino 77), Lascelles, Dummett, Manquillo; Aarons (Atsu 71), Diame, Shelvey, Murphy; Joselu (Gayle 62).

Subs not used: Darlow (GK), Clark, Ritchie, Perez.



PLAYER TO WATCH: Dwight Gayle

After making a number of substitute appearances at the beginning of the season, the forward has played a bigger part in Newcastle’s campaign in recent weeks, scoring three goals in four consecutive starts for the club.

Gayle’s first Premier League goal of the season came against Manchester United at Old Trafford, before the frontman also found the back of the net against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

His third goal of the campaign came against Leicester City at St James’ Park, but the Magpies are yet to win a game this season when the forward has scored.

Benitez gave the striker a rest against Manchester City on Wednesday - playing just 15 minutes at the end of the game - and the 27-year-old could be recalled after benefitting from a small break.


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