Brighton v Southampton
Monday December 8, 20:00
Live on Sky Sports
Brighton leave it late
Pascal Gross‘ stoppage-time penalty rescued a deserved 1-1 draw for Brighton against champions Liverpool last weekend at The Amex. The Seagulls are often made to pay for missed chances – only Liverpool, Leeds and Manchester City have had more shots than Albion’s 123 this season – but Graham Potter‘s men eventually earned a merited point.
The last-minute spot-kick was Brighton’s second in the showdown after Neal Maupay had earlier fired a first-half attempt wide. Despite the disappointment, the hosts continued to probe with the lively Aaron Connolly a constant thorn in the side of Liverpool’s defence as the Seagulls had 11 attempts at goal and restricted the Reds to only two on-target strikes.
Speaking post-match, Potter said: “(Decisions) clearly went our way today, but I thought our performance level was really good, and we deserved something from the game in terms of how we played.” The Brighton boss will be without Adam Lallana and Maupay for Monday night’s match-up but defender Tariq Lamptey should return to the fold from suspension.
Southampton suffer setback
Edinson Cavani inspired a Manchester United comeback as Southampton were left to ponder a heartbreaking 3-2 Premier League defeat against the Red Devils at St Mary’s last weekend. The Uruguayan provided two goals and an assist having come on as a second-half substitute, with Saints in control and leading proceedings 2-0 at the interval.
James Ward-Prowse was United’s tormentor in opening 45 minutes, setting up Jan Bednarek‘s 23rd minute header with a corner before floating a magnificent free-kick beyond David de Gea 10 minutes later. The visitors did waste first-half opportunities but were clinical following Cavani’s introduction as Southampton’s seven-game unbeaten spell ended.
Saints supremo Ralph Hasenhuttl had named an unchanged XI from the group who sealed a 1-1 draw at Wolves on Monday and admitted post-match, “We had some fantastic moments – the best I think we can against such sides. The second half, sure, was difficult but we must see the quality and in the end, how difficult it is to defend against the other team.”
Brighton are winless in their six Premier League meetings with Southampton (W0-D4-L2) and come into this contest without a success over Saints in seven across all competitions (W0-D4-L3). In fact, Albion have tabled just two triumphs in 20 head-to-heads and earned top honours just once at home to Southampton since all the way back in 1981.
Brighton 2.568/5 have registered only two Premier League victories in their opening 10 tussles but Graham Potter’s posse continue to produce eye-catching displays. The Seagulls’ underlying process remains strong with the hosts’ Expected Points (xP) return ranking Albion fifth, even more impressive considering the schedule that BHA have faced thus far.
Southampton 2.962/1 fell to their first defeat since September last time out, although Saints had been earning triumphs in tight matches, regularly scoring from low-probability chances. Back on their travels, remarkably only Ossie Ardiles (56%) has won a higher share of points away than Ralph Hasenhuttl (52%), who’s presided over a W14-D9-L12 return on the road.
Surprisingly, Brighton’s risk-reward and adventurous style of play hasn’t consistently contributed to goal-heavy games at The Amex under Graham Potter. Only 9/24 (38%) league fixtures here since the start of last season have crossed the Over 2.5 Goals 2.001/1 barrier despite Expected Goals (xG) data forecasting a much higher outcome.
Southampton make the short journey east having only failed to score in one of their last 17 Premier League games, with matches away from St Mary’s often high-scoring. Saints have rewarded Over 2.5 Goals punters in 14/24 (58%) road trips since the beginning of 2019/20, with the same hit-rate when delving into the Both Teams To Score 1.804/5 market.
With that in mind, I’m happy to support BTTS on Monday night knowing how the two head coaches prefer to operate. Both sides should take an offensive approach and neither can be relied on to keep their sheets clean, leading us towards an entertaining encounter.