Bournemouth vs Brighton preview: Chris Hughton warns of Cherries backlash

Brighton boss Chris Hughton has dismissed suggestions it is a good time to face out-of-form Bournemouth.

Eddie Howe’s side have lost six of their last seven Premier League matches and have a lengthy injury list.

The Cherries, whose absentees include captain Simon Francis and midfielders Lewis Cook and Dan Gosling, also suffered defeat in their Carabao Cup quarter-final at Chelsea on Wednesday evening.

Hughton was at Stamford Bridge for that tie and, ahead of Saturday’s trip to the Vitality Stadium, insists Bournemouth remain a dangerous opponent.

“They certainly didn’t look like they were struggling then. I thought they were excellent,” said Hughton at this pre-match press conference.

“Even right up until the end it looked like the game was going to penalties. Whichever players come in they know the roles very well.

“He (Howe) has got them playing in the way he wants to, very high-tempo, a lot of pace in the team.

“They have a way of playing and it always smacks me in the face that they are a team where everybody knows their roles and jobs.

“We expect a very difficult game, particularly at Bournemouth.”

Team news

Bournemouth defender Simon Francis will continue to be assessed for a groin injury after missing the last two games, including the midweek Carabao Cup exit at Chelsea.

Lewis Cook, Dan Gosling and Adam Smith (all knee) remain out.

The Seagulls will once again be without injured wingers Jose Izquierdo (knee) and Alireza Jahanbakhsh (hamstring).

Opta stats

  • Bournemouth are undefeated in their last nine matches against Brighton in all competitions (W5 D4), since a 2-3 loss in January 2008 in the third tier.
  • Brighton have won just one of their last 11 away games against Bournemouth in all competitions (D2 L8), winning 2-0 in October 2007.
  • Bournemouth are looking to win four consecutive home matches against Brighton for the first time in their history – having won three a row for the third separate occasion.
  • Bournemouth have lost six of their last seven Premier League games (W1). Their previous six defeats in the competition came over a period of 21 games (W9 D6 L6).
  • Brighton have lost their last two Premier League games – they last lost three in a row within a single season back in December 2017.
  • Bournemouth have scored more penalty goals than any other Premier League side this season (5), while Brighton have conceded the most goals from the penalty spot (5).

Merson’s prediction

Bournemouth were terrible last week, but played OK against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup. They’ve struggled of late but I’m going to back them to return to form here.

Brighton are a funny team, because away from home it just feels like everyone expects them to lose. I watched them against Burnley a couple weeks ago and they were shocking, really shocking.

PAUL PREDICTS: 2-0 (8/1 with Sky Bet)

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