Cherries To Pick Off Seagulls At Amex
Brighton v Bournemouth
Championship leaders Bournemouth travel to Brighton as they edge towards what would be a remarkable achievement should they earn promotion to the Premier League.
Monday’s 1-0 defeat by Rotherham was a second loss by that scoreline in a row for Brighton and means they’ve now won just once in six games – a 1-0 victory of their own over Blackburn a fortnight ago. The Seagulls have now picked up only eight points from their last eight games and failed to score in half of those.
Despite being nine points clear of the relegation places with a far superior goal difference to those around them, boss Chris Hughton will be taking nothing for granted with five games remaining given his side’s poor displays of late.
Nobody has hit double figures for Brighton this season, with Joao Teixeria the club’s leading scorer in the Championship with six and defender Lewis Dunk just one goal behind him.
It’s now eight games since Bournemouth were last defeated in the Championship, after they came back from going two goals down in the first 20 minutes at home to Birmingham on Easter Monday to win 4-2. Eddie Howe’s side stayed top of the pile in England’s second tier just a point ahead of Norwich and Watford following that win but with only seven points separating the top seven teams its still all to be decided as the business end of the season draws in.
The Cherries have also scored 20 times in their last six outings and are the division’s top scorers with 87 goals.
Callum Wilson’s goal on Monday was the striker’s 17th in league games this season making him the club’s top scorer, with Brett Pitman, Yann Kermorgant and Matt Ritchie also hitting double figures for this prolific outfit.
Winger Solly March remains out for Brighton with a recurring back problem which looks likely to rule him out until next season while striker Sam Baldock is also out through injury. Hughton may change his striking options following their recent difficulties in front of goal with Leon Best pushing for a recall at the likely expense of Chris O’Grady.
Despite scoring off the bench to rescue a point on his debut against Ipswich last Friday, recent loan signing Kenwyne Jones failed to make the starting XI for Bournemouth’s last game and looks likely to have to make do with a spot on the bench again here. Marc Pugh remains a serious doubt with an ankle problem and so it looks likely that Howe will stick with the same starting line-up from their victory over Birmingham.
Head to Head
Bournemouth came out on top in the reverse fixture 3-2 at the Goldsands Stadium earlier this season with Kermorgant grabbing the winner from the penalty spot. Three of the previous four clashes ended 1-1 while Brighton haven’t won any of the last five but the Cherries last win in Brighton came back in 1988.
With all the momentum behind them, Bournemouth are worthy favourites at 20/23 against a side who aren’t mathematically guaranteed of survival but have little to play for in reality.
Brighton don’t score or concede too many very often at home so Under 2.5 goals makes most sense in the total goals market at 10/11 with Howe’s side to be leading at half-time and full-time a great punt at 2/1.