Eddie Howe’s side were held to a 2-2 draw by Leeds United at the weekend, one day before the Seagulls effectively ended Arsenal’s title chances in a 3-0 Emirates romping.
A penny for Patrick Bamford’s thoughts as Callum Wilson stepped up to the spot and offered his compatriot some pointers on Saturday lunchtime, having witnessed the Leeds man sent a tame spot kick into the palms of Nick Pope after a quickfire Luke Ayling opener at Elland Road.
A pair of confident penalties from Wilson turned the game on its head, but Rasmus Kristensen’s deflected effort 11 minutes from time ensured a point for Sam Allardyce’s men in a contest that was marred by a fan making his way to the Newcastle dugout to confront Eddie Howe, who was left shaken but thankfully unharmed by the disgraceful incident.
With only one point under their belt from the last six on offer in the top flight, Newcastle’s third-placed standing in the Premier League table is not unassailable for Manchester United – who are only behind on goal difference – or Liverpool, who sit one point worse off having played a game more.
Even challenging for Champions League football so soon after their sometimes scorned takeover represents a period of overachievement for Howe’s troops, but a waning defence is doing the Magpies no favours; the league’s joint-best rearguard have now failed to keep a clean sheet in eight successive fixtures and have only shut out Manchester United in their last 17.
A 2-0 loss to Arsenal a couple of weekends ago marked just their second home Premier League defeat of the season, though, but unlike Newcastle, Brighton are well-versed when it comes to out-gunning the Gunners.
Preview: Newcastle vs. Brighton – prediction, team news, lineups
In a result celebrated by fans in two different shades of blue, Brighton all but guaranteed a second-placed finish for an abating Arsenal side in a phenomenal display of tactical excellence at the Emirates, putting three past Mikel Arteta’s men without reply in the second half.
Following a combative and ultimately scoreless opening 45 minutes, Julio Enciso’s controversial opener – where Jakub Kiwior appeared to take a stamp to the ankle – preceded a Deniz Undav lob and a Pervis Estupinan rebound, as Roberto De Zerbi’s team consigned their freak 5-1 mauling at the hands of Everton to history.
De Zerbi brought the mood down slightly at the full-time whistle, claiming that Brighton may find it difficult to hang onto their sought-after stars, but not until their quest for European football is complete; the Seagulls remain sixth in the standings and have a one-point advantage over Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa, both of whom have played two games more.
Extending their Premier League scoring streak to 12 games at the Emirates, Brighton also venture to St James’ Park as the league’s second most prolific team on the road – a total of 33 strikes is second only to Arsenal’s 35 – but on the other hand, De Zerbi’s side have only kept three clean sheets on rival territory all season long.
The Magpies held Brighton to a goalless draw at the Amex back in August, five months on from Newcastle’s 2-1 win at St James’ Park in March 2022, but the Seagulls have remarkably kept eight clean sheets from their 11 Premier League fixtures with the hosts – against no other top-flight side do they boast such a tremendous defensive record.
Newcastle United Premier League form:
Brighton & Hove Albion Premier League form:
Brighton & Hove Albion form (all competitions):
We say: Newcastle United 2-2 Brighton & Hove Albion
From being torn to shreds by Everton to inflicting a similar fate on Arsenal, it would take a brave soul to confidently predict the outcome of a Brighton game nowadays, but their penchant for goals on the road coupled with Newcastle’s permeable backline will serve them well.
While the Magpies had to rely on two penalties to save their bacon at Elland Road, Howe’s men can take confidence from the Seagulls’ dire defensive fortunes away from home – in spite of the Seagulls’ affinity for clean sheets in this fixture – and a midweek game that should live up to the billing and then some could end with both sides shaking hands on a high-scoring stalemate.