Saturday’s Premier League programme caps off at the Amex Stadium with a handsome-looking showdown between Brighton & Hove Albion and West Ham United.
While we expected the high-profile departures of Alexis Mac Allister and Moises Caicedo would demote the Seagulls to mid-table lethargy in our Brighton season preview, they’ve proved us wrong in the early season.
A thumping 4-1 win over newcomers Luton Town on the opening weekend was hardly a surprise, but replicating that scoreline away to Wolverhampton Wanderers last week was an astonishing feat.
It feels like manager Roberto De Zerbi couldn’t care less about the stature of his opponents, which could be an ominous sign for visiting West Ham, who ought to take the field in a buoyant mood.
David Moyes’ side conceded late in a disappointing 1-1 draw at Bournemouth in round one, but they stunned cross-city rivals Chelsea 3-1 despite being reduced to ten men last time out.
Confidence should be at an all-time high in the Hammers camp after they spoiled Caicedo’s debut for the Blues as they bid to outperform our West Ham season predictions.
Unlike the ex-Brighton midfielder, James Ward-Prowse painted his maiden Premier League appearance for his new club with vivid colours, delivering an assist to inspire West Ham to a derby victory a week ago.
A piece of history is up for grabs if Brighton can continue firing on all cylinders as they look to become only the fourth side in the English top flight to score 4+ goals in their opening three games.
Maintaining their free-scoring form would increase the Seagulls’ quest to post a third consecutive win in the Premier League for the first time since October 2018.
De Zerbi won’t expect anything less from his formidable frontline after overseeing an overwhelming 4-0 victory in this corresponding fixture last March.
That result forms part of Brighton’s impressive unbeaten all-time home record against West Ham in the Premier League (W4, D2), with three of their four wins in that sequence seeing them net at least three goals.
West Ham’s misfortunes against Brighton stretch beyond the Amex borders, with Moyes’ side seeking their first-ever Premier League win against the Seagulls after 12 failed attempts (D6, L6).
Although the abovementioned win over Chelsea offers a confidence boost, the Hammers’ hopes of breaking their ‘Brighton jinx’ remain slim, given their well-documented travel sickness.
Jarrod Bowen and his teammates are winless in their last five away league matches (D1, L4), conceding multiple goals in all four defeats during this uneventful run.
Since each of West Ham’s three league wins on the road last season came ‘to nil,’ defensive resilience will be crucial if they’re to conquer the Amex on Saturday.
Apart from long-term absentee Jakub Moder, De Zerbi will have the remainder of his Brighton squad fit and ready for this encounter.
West Ham fans will have to wait a bit longer to see summer addition Konstantinos Mavropanos in action, as he’s still out with a groin injury.
His defensive colleague Nayef Aguerd is also unavailable after picking up a red card against Chelsea.
Brighton & Hove Albion potential starting line-up:
(4-2-3-1): Jason Steele; James Milner, Adam Webster, Lewis Dunk, Pervis Estupinan; Pascal Gross, Mahmoud Dahoud; Solly March, Joao Pedro, Kaoru Mitoma; Danny Welbeck.
West Ham United potential starting line-up:
(4-2-3-1): Alphonse Areola; Vladimir Coufal, Kurt Zouma, Angelo Ogbonna, Emerson; Tomas Soucek, James Ward-Prowse; Jarrod Bowen, Lucas Paqueta, Said Benrahma; Michail Antonio.
We Say: Brighton & Hove Albion 3-2 West Ham United
The last two Premier League meetings between Brighton and West Ham at the Amex have seen the hosts score 3+ goals and concede precisely once.
We expect that trend to continue this weekend, albeit we back the Hammers to improve their scoring record in Sussex.
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