Brighton welcome Cardiff to the Amex on Tuesday in what could be a deciding day in the relegation battle as the Bluebirds look to stop themselves from trading in the Premier League for the Championship by getting a step closer to the Seagulls.
Amex Stadium, Hove, England
Key Stat: The home side has failed to lose in the last seven fixtures between these two sides, dating back to February of 2013. Most of those matches did come in the Championship, but it's quite a compelling stat nonetheless.
Expert Verdict: This match here was already going to be a big one for Cardiff, but with the recent collapse of Brighton, it has new meaning to it. A win for the visitors would inch them closer toward the Seagulls and breathe new life into the relegation battle. But a win for the hosts would effectively seal, and a draw would make things incredibly tough for Cardiff as well. Brighton aren't playing well, but surely they can keep up the trend and at least get a point.
Chris Hughton has some thinking to do after his team surrendered five goals at the weekend. He will have no thinking to do over Anthony Knockaert, who will be out via suspension after seeing red in the defeat. Outside of him, Pascal Gross is in contention and should be back in the team if he is deemed fit enough.
It just went all wrong on Saturday, and the sooner they can forget it the better it will be for them. Glenn Murray didn’t start up front, but he should definitely do so here. The veteran knows what it’s like to play, and score, in big games like this, and he’ll be looking to add to the 11 he’s already notched. Shane Duffy, the team’s second highest goal-getter is another to watch. He’s scored five times for them, but it will be his work at center back that is up for scrutiny, especially after the 0-5 loss they come off of.
Brighton have four losses and a win in their last five matches:
0-5 home loss vs Bournemouth
1-0 loss at Manchester City (FA Cup)
3-0 loss at Chelsea
0-1 home loss vs Southampton
2-2 draw, penalty win at Millwall (FA Cup)
Defenders:Montoya, Duffy, Dunk, Bong
Midfielders:Propper, Stephens, Gross, Bissouma
Neil Warnock continues to miss the likes of Callum Paterson, Matt Connolly, Sol Bamba, and Ashley Richards, with the third of quarter being the biggest casualty as the center back is one of his very best.
Warnock surely has to go for it here, even with what he has, and that means playing a couple of strikers and looking for knock downs. Bobby Reid has a lot of pace about him and can profit from that sort of play. He has been far from consistent, but he has four goals and two assists and can inject some energy into the team. Victor Camarasa is their star turn. The Spaniard is silky smooth on the ball, a quality they lack, and he leads them with five goals and three assists. He could prove vital if they are to win here and to avoid impending doom.
Cardiff have four losses and a win in their last five matches:
2-0 loss at Burnley
2-0 loss at Manchester City
1-2 home loss vs Chelsea
2-0 home win vs West Ham
2-0 loss at Wolves
Defenders:Peltier, Morrison, Ecuele Manga, Bennett
Midfielders:Murphy, Arter, Camarasa, Hoilett
Brighton have faced Cardiff 30 times before, with the draw being the prevailing result thus far. There have been 13 of those along with 11 Cardiff wins and 6 Brighton victories.
Here's a look at the last five results:
Nov 10, 2018: Cardiff 2-1 Brighton
Jan 24, 2017: Brighton 1-0 Cardiff (Championship)
Dec 3, 2016: Cardiff 0-0 Brighton (Championship)
Feb 20, 2016: Cardiff 4-1 Brighton (Championship)
Oct 3, 2015: Brighton 1-1 Cardiff (Championship)
Bet365 have the following odds available for this match:
Brighton are at 5/6 to win, a draw is at 12/5, and a Cardiff win is at 7/2.
Brighton enter this midweek match in a very uncomfortable position. They sit in 17th place having played 32 matches and have 33 points to show so far. This puts them only five points ahead of Cardiff, though they do have the luxury of having played a game less so far. They had begun the season so brightly and looked like they would never be mired in this battle, but alas things have changed. A loss here would pull them into the thick of it, despite their visitors being the team that will have the harder job to do. Either way now, Chris Hughton might just find himself out of the job having lost three straight ahead of this meeting.
Seagulls’ remaining fixtures: vs Cardiff, @Wolves, @Tottenham, vs Newcastle, @ Arsenal, vs Manchester City
Cardiff come into this contest in 18th place on 28 points from 33 matches played after they lost at Burnley, who just about clinched their safety with the win. The Bluebirds have endured a tough season, with the unfortunate and tragic passing of Emiliano Sala affecting them greatly. They have fought valiantly, but time is running out for them. A win here is very much needed, but they still would have work to do to overcome a two point gap to the Seagulls with a game less. But it’s their only chance, and they have to do everything they can to take it. In their last five outings, they have only three points, all of which came by virtue of beating West Ham at home.
Bluebirds’ remaining fixtures: @Brighton, vs Liverpool, @Fulham, vs Crystal Palace, @ Manchester United
At home, the Seagulls have been pretty pedestrian this season. In 16 outings at the Amex, they have six wins and six defeats so far, totaling up to 22 points. They have had a particularly rough go of it of late, with just one win coming in their past five matches and only four points being earned in that time. They have lost three of their last four as well, with the 0-5 home thumping at the hands of Bournemouth not playing too well in their minds.
Their saving grace could just be that the Bluebirds’ away record has been hardly impressive so far this season. Try as they might, they have taken just eight points from 16 outings, via two wins and two draws. That’s just a 25% rate of getting a point at all, and it’s just not good enough. They are three points off Brighton’s pace away from home, illustrating where the gap has been opened up. In their last five trips, they have only three points, which they came in a shock win at Southampton.
Ladbrokes have Murray scoring first at 11/4.
No for both sides scoring, via Betfair, is at 1.72.
Don’t expect this match to be very pretty. It’s going to be about who can hold their nerve the longest. Cardiff have fought through so much turmoil this season, but in the end it looks like they’ll be set for the drop after defeat.