AFC Bournemouth will be hoping to register a Premier League double when they face Brighton at the Amex Stadium on Saturday.
Brighton & Hove Albion v AFC Bournemouth
Saturday 13 April
Premier League, 3pm
Never higher than 10th and never lower than 16th – Brighton supporters would probably have settled for a mid-table finish and an FA Cup semi-final place at the start of the season.
With seven matches remaining, the Seagulls are five points clear of the bottom three and have at least one game in hand on every other team.
Promoted as Championship runners-ups in 2017, Brighton finished 15th in their first season in the Premier League having spent four years in the top flight between 1979 and 1983.
They are playing catch-up with their fixtures having reached the last four of the FA Cup where they were narrowly beaten by Manchester City at Wembley six days ago.
Their cup adventure started at Vitality Stadium in January and saw them overcome the Cherries, West Brom, Derby and Millwall before bowing out at the hands of Pep Guardiola’s team.
Brighton started 2018/19 in similar fashion to how they had ended 2017/18 – beating Manchester United at home during an otherwise winless run.
Pascal Gross’s goal earned them a 1-0 victory over the Red Devils in May, their only victory in their final nine league games of last season.
Gross’s penalty and goals from Glenn Murray and Shane Duffy saw them triumph 3-2 against United at the Amex Stadium in August, their only win in their first seven games this season.
The Seagulls started to find some consistency in October, with a hat-trick of victories seeing them topple West Ham, Newcastle and Wolves.
A 3-1 win over arch-rivals Crystal Palace at the start of December saw the Seagulls climb into the top half of the table for the first and only time this season.
It was followed by a mixed bag of results which saw Chris Hughton’s team occupy 13th place between mid-December and the start of February.
Since then, the Seagulls have won two and lost four league games – and seen off West Brom, Derby and Millwall in the FA Cup before losing out to Manchester City.
LAST TIME OUT
Manchester City 1-0 Brighton
Boss Chris Hughton expressed immense pride after the Seagulls had exited the FA Cup at the hands of quadruple-chasing Manchester City.
A stooping header from Gabriel Jesus after just four minutes settled in City’s favour the semi-final tie at Wembley on Saturday.
Brighton went toe to toe with Pep Guardiola’s team and their players were given a standing ovation at the final whistle in appreciation of their efforts.
They stayed in contention throughout the 90 minutes but were ultimately denied the chance of reaching their first FA Cup final since 1983.
Hughton said: “I am incredibly proud. After conceding after four minutes, I don't think there was anyone in the stadium who thought the second wasn't going to come.
“We hung in and, apart from the goal, I struggle to think of a real clear chance. That wouldn't have happened often, if at all, to them this season
“We raised the bar in the level of our performance. The most important thing is to take that into the difficult games. We have got vitally important home games. We have to get something from those two."
2018-19 TOP SCORER
Glenn Murray – 13 goals in all competitions
A qualified lift engineer, Chris Hughton made 398 appearances for Tottenham between 1979 and 1990 before having brief spells with West Ham and Brentford.
Capped 53 times by Republic of Ireland, he retired from playing in 1993, aged 34, and served Spurs as coach and then assistant manager.
Hughton eventually got the post on a permanent basis and led the Toon Army back to the Premier League in his first season in charge.
After leaving Newcastle in December 2010, Hughton was appointed manager of Championship outfit Birmingham and guided them to the play-off semi-final which they lost to Blackpool.
He took the reins at Norwich in June 2012 and spent two seasons at Carrow Road before becoming manager at Brighton midway through the 2014/15 season, securing the club’s place in the Championship.
Although Brighton missed out on promotion on goal difference the following season, Hughton steered them into the Premier League in 2016/17, finishing as runners-up to Newcastle.
The Seagulls finished 15th in their first season in the top flight since 1983 and are currently 16th, five points above the relegation zone.
- The Cherries met the Seagulls in their first season in the Football League, winning 1-0 at home and losing 5-0 away.
- Joshua King, Callum Wilson and Glenn Murray have all scored 11 goals in the Premier League this season.
- The Cherries (1925-26) and the Seagulls (1929-30) have both won this fixture 4-3 at the Goldstone Ground in Division Three (South).
- Ryan Fraser leads the Cherries assists table with ten, while Anthony Knockaert tops the charts at Brighton with six.
- Doug McGibbon and Alec Blakeman both scored twice in the Cherries’ biggest win against Brighton with Arnold Stephens and Micky Reid also on target in a 6-1 victory in February 1949.
- Asmir Begovic and Mat Ryan have both kept five clean sheets in the Premier League this season, Artur Boruc has kept three and David Button one.
- Eddie Howe scored at both ends in this fixture when Brighton won 2-1 at Withdean Stadium in September 2001.
- The Cherries have delivered 528 crosses in their 33 games in the Premier League this season, while Brighton have put in 526 in 31.