The hosts have been in impressive form this season as they find themselves 6th in the league table 5 points off Tottenham Hotspur in 5th with 2 games in hand. The mid-season departure of Graham Potter to join Chelsea hasn’t had any impact on the performances of the Seagulls as Roberto De Zerbi has just lost 5 games from 14 matches so far. With wins against Liverpool and Chelsea during this run, the Seagulls aren’t a side to be underestimated this season and are genuine contenders to finish in the top 6.
Bournemouth, on the other hand, find themselves in the other half of the table struggling in 18th place. The Cherries are winless in their 5 games and haven’t won a game since late November. Gary O’Neil’s men will have to improve their displays if they want to survive in the competition next season. In order to improve their side, the Cherries have made 6 new acquisitions including the likes of Hamed Traore, Illia Zabarnyi, Matias Vina, Darren Randolph, Antoine Semenyo and Dango Ouattara.
When & Where?
Date: 4th February, 2023.
Time: 3:00 PM GMT.
Venue: Amex Stadium, Brighton.
Referee: Craig Pawson.
Assistants: Simon Long, Scott Ledger.
Fourth Official: Josh Smith.
VAR: Tony Harrington.
Assistant VAR: Harry Lennard.
Brighton lost their in-form young striker Evan Ferguson in the FA Cup win over Liverpool on Sunday which looked like a serious injury and will be a huge blow to De Zerbi. Moises Caicedo, who was the center of a lot of transfer speculation in the transfer window, is expected to return to the starting XI for the game after missing out the FA Cup game. Alexis Mac Allister is suspended for the game while the Seagulls will be missing Adam Lallana, Facundo Buonanotte, Jakub Moder and Levi Colwill who are all out with long-term injuries.
Bournemouth will have to conduct late fitness tests for Dominic Solanke, Marcus Tavernier, Philip Billing, Junior Stanislas and Ryan Fredricks who are all doubtful for the trip to the South Coast. Gary O’Neil will miss both David Brooks and Lewis Cook which means we could see debuts for some of the new signings in the starting XI for the Cherries.
Being unbeaten in their last 5 games, Brighton head into the game as strong favourites to get the win at home. Roberto De Zerbi’s style of play looks well-established and the fans are enjoying their side’s emergence as a team who can upset the big boys in the country as well. They will be up against a leaky yet stubborn Bournemouth defence who are not easy to crack open particularly because they defend with a deep defensive line. De Zerbi will have to lineup in a more attacking fashion giving his midfielders the freedom to help in the attack and create chances.
Bournemouth have switched between a 3-5-2/4-4-2 system under Gary O’Neil and it remains to be seen which system will they play given it’s a crucial game and a positive result is desperately needed to start gaining momentum. New signings Hamed Traore and Matias Vina could both start in the middle of the park for the Cherries to add much needed creativity and defensive solidity to the struggling side.
The absence of Dominic Solanke and Philip Billing has affected the team massively as their direct style of play on the counter requires a physical target man up top. O’Neil will have to turn to the tactics board and devise a plan to stop the ruthless Seagulls who have scored 11 goals in their last 4 home games in all competitions. A miserable away form of losing their last six consecutive away games will be a record O’Neil would want to not continue and get a positive result this weekend.
The Japanese has taken the league by storm and is in red hot form for his side. With 6 goals and 2 assists so far in 19 appearances, Mitoma will have to fill in the shoes of club top scorer Leandro Trossard who moved to Arsenal in January and be his side’s talisman for the rest of the season. Having scored a 90+2 minute winner against Klopp’s Liverpool in the FA Cup, the 25-year-old will want to continue his form in front of goal and guide his side to another victory which will further cement their spot in the league table.
Brighton & Hove Albion (4-3-3): Sanchez, Estupinian, Webster, Dunk, Lamptey, Caicedo, Gilmour, March, Gross, Mitoma, Welbeck.
AFC Bournemouth (4-2-2-2): Neto, Smith, Stephens, Kelly, Zamura, Vina, Traore, Ouattara, Anthony, Christie, Moore.