Though wins have recently been hard to come by for Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion, it’s all about finishing this unique Premier League season in strong form for both sides.
Each looking to end their current winless ruts, Newcastle and Brighton meet Monday night at the Amex.
Newcastle (11-10-15) sit on 43 points, more than enough to stay safe and return to the Premier League for another season. However, the Magpies are 0-1-3 since winning 4-1 at Bournemouth on July 1. That includes three consecutive league defeats in which they’ve been outscored 10-2.
In their most recent setback against Spurs on Wednesday, Matt Ritchie’s goal in the 56th minute leveled the match at 1-1. However, two Harry Kane goals followed, sealing the Magpies’ fate with another defeat.
Perhaps making matters worse for Newcastle in their penultimate match of the season, is that they’re expected to be without a host of key contributors due to fitness concerns. Regulars Ciaran Clark, Florian Lejeune and Fabian Schar are all slated to sit out, whilst budding star Allan Saint-Maximin (three goal, four assists in 2020) could miss as well, according to the Magpies’ official website.
“It’s a big frustration of ours at the minute,” manager Steve Bruce, who believes he could be minus at least seven players for this contest, told Newcastle’s official website.
“But it is what it is, and we have to get on with it. We knew there were going to be difficulties ahead, but not to this severity, that’s for sure.”
Considering those absences, it’s quite possible this match ends in a scoreless draw – as was the case in the reverse fixture on Sept. 21.
Whilst Newcastle are safe, Brighton (8-13-15) are essentially as well. Sitting 16th in the table on 37 points, they are six points from the drop zone, but hold the advantage when it comes to goal differential amongst those clubs who can still level them on points.
The Seagulls are 0-1-2 since a 1-0 win at relegated Norwich City on July 4, but earned a valuable point with Thursday’s 1-1 draw at Southampton. Neal Maupay opened the scoring with his 10th goal of the season, but the Saints equalised in the 66th to ultimately share the spoils.
“I think it’s a massive result for us,” Maupay told Brighton’s official website.
“We have two games to go and we’re not safe yet, so we need to keep fighting. But, it was a good step…The team spirit is really good, and we keep fighting and playing hard. So, we are confident that we are close to being safe.”