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    ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) Dick Head's Avatar
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    Newcastle United vs Brighton & Hove Albion *** Official Match Thread ***


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    Newcastle v Brighton

    PREMIER LEAGUE

    Venue: St. James' Park
    Date: Saturday 30th December 2017
    Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
    Referee: Anthony Taylor
    Assistants: Adam Nunn, Lee Betts
    Fourth official: Mike Jones



    TEAM NEWS

    Loanee Izzy Brown will be available for Brighton after having to sit out the Boxing Day defeat against parent club Chelsea.

    The only absentee for Chris Hughton's side is Steve Sidwell, who remains out with a back injury.

    Newcastle midfielder Isaac Hayden remains a doubt after missing the last two matches with a minor injury.

    Defender Jesus Gamez and striker Aleksandar Mirtovic are again expected to be absent.

    MOTD COMMENTATOR'S NOTES

    Alistair Mann: "After unsurprisingly succumbing to their fifth successive home defeat at the hands of Manchester City in midweek, Newcastle can ill afford for the depressing run to extend to six.

    "Losing to the runaway league leaders is one thing, losing to a team close by in the table is quite another; especially as a win against Brighton would take them above their opponents.

    "The visitors bring a similarly bleak run of four successive away defeats to St James' Park, all without scoring.

    "It's a fact which only accentuates why, despite the constant talk of the need for reinforcements, that there will be an expectation of a more positive outcome by those who were prepared to accept the team's pragmatic and defensive approach on Wednesday."

    WHAT THE MANAGERS SAY

    Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez: "We want to win and we think we can win, but Brighton will be thinking exactly the same. We'll try to score goals and play at the level we did at West Ham."

    "These are the games where people expect us to compete and to win, so my concern is to approach the games with the belief that we can win."

    Brighton manager Chris Hughton: "Newcastle are a team we know very well, we know they have a lot of quality.

    "They haven't had the best of times of late but we know on a good day for them they can be a fairly formidable team, they have enough quality to make them very dangerous opponents."

    MATCH FACTS

    Head-to-head

    • This is only the second top-flight league meeting between these two clubs - Brighton won the first 1-0 in September.
    • The Magpies won both Championship meetings against the Seagulls last season.
    • Brighton's last victory away at Newcastle was in March 1992.


    Newcastle

    • Newcastle have won just one of their last 11 matches.
    • They are looking to avoid equalling their club record run of six consecutive home defeats in the top flight, set from September to October 1953.
    • The Magpies have lost their last five games against newly-promoted opposition - a Premier League record.
    • Rafael Benitez has lost six of 10 league matches played at St James' Park this campaign - he had lost just six of his previous 110 home Premier League games before this season.
    • Victory would be Benitez's 150th in the Premier League. He would be the third non-British manager to reach the landmark after Arsene Wenger (468) and Jose Mourinho (171).


    Brighton

    • Brighton have won only once in their last nine league games and have scored a total of just one goal in their last five matches.
    • The Seagulls have lost four consecutive away league matches without scoring for the first time since October 2002. They last lost five away games in a row without scoring in May 1986.
    • Pascal Gross has been directly involved in nine league goals this season (four goals and five assists) - four more than any other Brighton player.
    • He has also created 40 goalscoring chances, double that of any other member of Chris Hughton's squad.

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