Brighton v Newcastle preview: Will Chris Hughton finally beat Rafa Benitez?
Last Updated: 24/09/17 3:23pm
Premier League new boys Brighton and Newcastle renew their rivalry from the Sky Bet Championship title race on Super Sunday.
Brighton and Newcastle were automatically promoted to the Premier League last season but it was the Magpies who dramatically won the title on the final day, finishing one point ahead of Chris Hughton's side, who took just a single point from their final three games.
Brighton go into the clash on the south coast having taken four points from their opening five games - their worst start to a league season since 2009.
In contrast, Newcastle have flourished back at the top table of English football, winning their last three Premier League matches.
Hughton has failed to win any of his six managerial games against his former club Newcastle, and has lost all three managerial meetings with Rafa Benitez.
Bruno, Glenn Murray, Izzy Brown and Gaetan Bong will all be available for Brighton.
Bruno was absent for last Friday's defeat at Bournemouth, owing to a back injury, while Murray missed out on Tuesday's loss to the same team because of an injured ankle.
A back injury means Steve Sidwell remains unavailable, while Beram Kayal is a long-term absentee having broken his leg.
Aleksandar Mitrovic is suspended for Newcastle, while Paul Dummett is still sidelined by a hamstring injury and Massadio Haidara remains unavailable with a knee injury.
This will be the 15th league meeting between these two clubs, but the first in the English top flight.
In fact, this will become the 1421st different English top-flight fixture to be played between two clubs.
Newcastle United were the only team to beat Brighton & Hove Albion both home and away in the 2016-17 Championship season, including a 2-1 win away on the south coast.
Newcastle have posted the lowest passing accuracy (68.9 per cent) and the second lowest average possession figure (38.1 per cent) this season in the Premier League.
Brighton have handed a Premier League appearance to just 16 different players in 2017-18; the lowest total among all clubs this season.
Newcastle United have had the youngest starting XI on average this season (25y 208d) in the Premier League and they have had three of the five youngest starting XI's in games this season.
Newcastle won more points in their last Premier League away game (1-0 v Swansea - three points) than they had in their previous 12 Premier League away trips combined (W0 D2 L10).
The Magpies will be looking to win successive Premier League away matches for the first time in nearly three years - last doing so in November 2014.
Jamaal Lascelles has scored in each of his last two Premier League appearances for Newcastle United - the only defender to score in three in a row in the competition for the Magpies is Steven Taylor in May 2011.
Pascal Gross has been involved in all four of Brighton's Premier League goals this season; scoring the first two and assisting the second two.
I know it's only five games but Newcastle have done superbly to get into the top four - not many people saw that coming!
Their fans will be full of confidence and looking for another win but Brighton make it difficult for opponents at the Amex. Man City were made to work hard and West Brom were dispatched 3-1.
A draw would be a good result for the visitors, they should take that all day long.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-1 (Sky Bet odds 9/2)
Brighton are Sky Bet's marginal favourites at 13/8 with Newcastle priced at 9/5, while the draw is a 21/10 chance. The Seagulls headed into the weekend as even-money second favourites for relegation, while Benitez's men have been pushed out to 8/1 thanks to three successive wins. Joselu and Dwight Gayle are 5/1 joint favourites in a wide-open first goalscorer market followed by Tomer Hemed and Murray (both 11/2).