Seeking to extend their unbeaten Premier League run to seven games and move further away from the relegation zone, Newcastle United play host to Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday afternoon.
The visitors, meanwhile, will be looking to avoid a fourth successive league defeat and consolidate their place in the top 10 with a victory at St James’ Park.
Newcastle’s hopes of Premier League survival have been handed an enormous boost after a positive run of form, in which they have accumulated 14 points from their last six games, has seen them catapult from the foot of the table to 14th place, four points above the relegation zone.
Only Liverpool (18) have picked up more points in the last six top-flight matches than the Magpies, who seem to have been given a new lease of life under head coach Eddie Howe.
A 1-1 draw away at West Ham United ended a three-game winning streak, but they bounced back with a 2-0 success away against 10-man Brentford last weekend. Josh Dasilva’s 11th-minute dismissal put the visitors in control and two first-half goals from in-form midfield duo Joelinton and Joe Willock helped secure just their fifth league win of the campaign.
Victories, however, have been hard to come by when locking horns with Brighton; Newcastle have not won any of their nine Premier League meetings against the Seagulls, their worst run against any team in the division.
The Magpies have also failed to score in any of their last four home games against Brighton, but having found the net in 20 of their 25 league matches this season, including a strike in the 1-1 draw at the Amex Stadium earlier this season, Howe’s side will be confident of breaching their backline and securing three more precious points on Saturday.
Brighton & Hove Albion manager Graham Potter on February 26, 2022© Reuters
While Newcastle were flying high in February, Brighton ended the month with three successive defeats without scoring. Aston Villa were the latest side to claim maximum points against the Seagulls, winning 2-0 at the Amex last weekend.
Despite dominating proceedings with 67% possession, strikes either side of half time from Matty Cash and Ollie Watkins condemned Graham Potter’s men to their seventh league defeat of the season.
Nevertheless, Brighton remain in the top half of the table, where they are hoping to finish for the first time in their Premier League history since their promotion in 2017-18.
The Seagulls travel to St James’ Park this weekend with a slightly better away record so far this season, accumulating 19 points on the road compared with 14 secured on home soil. Potter’s side have lost only twice in 13 away games, which can only be matched or bettered by the current top four.
With challenging encounters against Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Man City to follow, Saturday’s trip to the North-East seems to be Brighton’s most favourable fixture on paper in the short term, though one that they are certainly not guaranteed to succeed in, given the contrasting form between the two sides.