Ahead of tonight’s crucial clash at The Amex, I’ve been chatting to Brighton fan over the past few days to gain a view from the south-coast as we approach this relegation six-pointer against the Seagulls.
Speaking to Scott from @WeAreBrighton, we discussed his thoughts on the relegation battle, views on Steve Bruce, the strengths and weaknesses of this Newcastle team, plus the bizarre theme of Graham Potter’s side putting in promising performances that rarely = three points!
Here’s our pre-match chat in full:
Who do you think will go down between Brighton, Newcastle and Fulham?
I still think it is between Brighton and Newcastle and in all honesty, it is too close to call. People might look at Saturday and think it’s a must-win game but weirdly from an Albion point of view, it probably isn’t. Our best performances and results this season have come against the better sides, beating Spurs and Liverpool for example. We should have had at least a point from Manchester United too until they were awarded a 97th minute penalty after the full time whistle in true United style.
We have a difficult run after playing Newcastle, but if this season has taught us anything it is that Brighton under Graham Potter are a very weird, unpredictable team. It wouldn’t be a surprise if we lose to you but then go and win at Old Trafford and beat Everton at home, so Lord knows how things will look by the end of May.
What are your thoughts on Steve Bruce? After TWO wins in 19 games, we’re baffled he’s still in charge…
You are probably talking to the wrong fan base about results not equaling sackings! Graham Potter oversaw just two wins from our first 19 games this season and before lockdown last year, we had won two in 18. We have won once at home all season and failed to beat West Brom, Burnley, Fulham, Sheffield United and Crystal Palace at the Amex.
Most other managers would have paid with their job. We are a little bit different in that there is clearly a long term plan with Potter in charge. The club want to stick with it regardless and we have seen enough glimpses to suggest that if it comes off, we will be well set to challenge for the top 10.
I do wonder if no fans in grounds is having an impact on managerial sackings. Would Bruce have survived this long with a packed St James’ calling for his neck? Would Potter still be in a job if we were forking out hundreds of pounds to sit in the Amex and watch two Premier League home wins since the start of 2020?
Newcastle look like they have a good squad on paper and probably shouldn’t be in a relegation battle. You could say the same about Brighton though. The difference being we have an excellent chairman. Whoever you have in charge is going to be hamstrung by the owner. That has to be Newcastle’s biggest problem as we all know that you have the potential to be one of the best teams in the country.
Which Newcastle players do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of our side?
Callum Wilson being out is big for us as he had an excellent record against Brighton from his time at Bournemouth.
Our finishing has been woeful this season, best highlighted across our games with Aston Villa, Palace and West Brom when we had 60 shots on target, scored once and picked up one point. Any half decent goalkeeper has a field day against Brighton so if Martin Dubravka is on form he could win you the game.
At the other end, we have a serious issue defending set pieces and aerial balls into the box. The prospect of Andy Carroll coming on is pretty frightening.
I know you got a huge win last weekend, but why do Brighton keep losing games they tend to dominate?
We are not good enough up front. If we performed to our xG, then we would be fifth in the table! A combination of Potter thinking he was good enough to coach more goals out of our existing strikers and the club not wanting to spend – understandable given the pandemic – is why we do not get results.
Had we gone in for Wilson in the summer for example, we would probably be top 10. It’s infuriating to watch but Potter and the board should at least be under no illusions of what has to be done in the transfer market – providing we stay up of course.