Newcastle v Brighton: Tense Affair on the Cards for Newly-Promoted Clash

The big fella in the red suit has now travelled back to the North Pole for a well-earned rest, but the Premier League is still working overtime over the festive period, as Newcastle host Brighton this coming Saturday at St James’ Park – kick-off 15:00 Dec 30.

With just ten points covering the bottom ten clubs in the league standings, a crucial victory – even so far away from the season’s end in May – can go a long way to ensuring survival from the dreaded drop.

Both teams will take to the field at the weekend on the back of defeats – Brighton endured a successful second half Spanish Armada at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea cruised to a 2-0 win, while Newcastle were the latest in the long list of Manchester City’s victims on Wednesday night in a 1-0 defeat on home turf.

A tense affair is expected in this game as both teams will be desperate to avoid defeat, but the onus will be on the Magpies in front of their home supporters to get the required result. The Premier League fixture computer has been rather unkind to Brighton’s supporters with the circa 700-mile round trip over the festive period, but the Seagulls will fly high back to the South Coast if Brighton can win this in-effect relegation six-pointer.

Match Odds

Rafael Benitez’s Newcastle outfit are the bookmakers’ favourites to claim the spoils at the weekend, and can be backed at the best industry price of 6/5 with several firms, including 888sport and Betfred. The Draw Is next best at 23/10 with SportingBet, while an away victory for Brighton can be taken with MarathonBet at the top odds of 61/20.

The last five meetings between the two clubs have all ended with a positive result – Brighton three wins, with two for Newcastle. Just one of those games have yielded over 2.5 goals, and this fixture looks to be of a similar vein considering the precarious position both teams find themselves in the table.

My preference for this game is – despite recent head-to-head results – is a drawn match. I just cannot see either side willing to risk too much, with defences ultimately on top. The St James’ Park crowd will demand attacking intent from their team, but defensive pragmatism could reign in this contest.

Individual Goal Scorers

Glenn Murray

Brighton’s Glenn Murray is the highest Premier League scorer of the two clubs with just five goals so far, this season. Murray has been used sparingly in recent games by Brighton manager, Chris Hughton, but the experienced striker could be the Seagulls’ best chance of a goal if given the starting nod. Murray is a top-priced 67/10 with MarathonBet to notch the opening goal.

From a Newcastle perspective, Dwight Gayle and Joselu have scored just three times in the Premier League under Benitez, but it is the Englishman, Gayle who is preferred. 888sport and Unibet go as short as 39/10 for the former Crystal Palace man to score first, but Marathon Bet are again top price at 67/10 for the speedy forward. For information purposes, Joselu is a 69/10 chance with MarathonBet.

Signed for a nominal fee from Ingolstadt back in the summer, Brighton’s German midfielder, Pascal Gross is another worthy of consideration at bigger odds. Gross has performed with credit in a Seagulls jersey this season on many occasions, and the 11/1 available with Bet365 and 888sport is worth a second look.

Other Side Bets

A 2-1 away win for the Magpies back in February was the only time in the last five meetings between the two clubs where Over 2.5 goals has been achieved. I don’t expect that to change here and another low scorer is on the cards. It is a prohibitive price but the 63/100 on offer from MarathonBet for UNDER 2.5 goals is an obvious choice for this fixture.

I’m torn between the ideas of suggesting either a 1-1 or 0-0 Correct Score bet, so my decision is to split stakes on both. If you couple the odds of 10Bet’s best price of 23/4 for 1-1 and the 7/1 with William Hill and Betfred’s offer of a goalless draw, the odds equate to around 5/2 for the spilt bet.

Best Bets

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