Soccer English Premier League 16 March 2023
Brighton vs Crystal Palace - Match Preview
Dreams of a first ever European qualification for Brighton add extra fuel to the fire of facing rivals Crystal Palace at the AMEX Stadium. However the Seagulls' pursuit of the top-six recently hit a stumbling block as they twice squandered the lead to draw 2-2 against a struggling Leeds side, a result coach Roberto de Zerbi called “one of the most disappointing” since his arrival in English football.
After the 4-0 thumping of West Ham in their last AMEX outing, the Italian boss will be looking to guide his side to successive home wins with accompanying 4+ goal hauls for the first time since April 2016, and Brighton will certainly be confident of at least securing the points having won four of their last five games on their own turf (L1). Palace may prove tricky opponents though, as although the Seagulls edge the all-time H2H (W40, D30, L38), they’re without a win in this fixture since March 2019 (D5, L2).
Patrick Vieira’s men make the relatively short journey south on the back of a limp ten-match Premier League (PL) winless run (D5, L5). An eleventh without a victory would be their worst run since a 14-match streak between December 2015 and April 2016, with this current miserable period not only leaving Palace just three points clear of the relegation zone but also leaving Vieira feeling “concerned” about their treacherous position.
The Palace boss expressed his frustration at a “lack of attention and organisation” in conceding a second-half penalty en route to a 1-0 loss against Manchester City last time out. It’s at the top end of the pitch where Palace are really struggling though, as that defeat saw them become the first team to fail to register a shot on target in three consecutive PL games since records began.
📋 Players to watch: Brighton’s World Cup winning midfielder Alexis Mac Allister has directly contributed to three goals in his last two appearances (G2, A1), but he’s never won a personal H2H against Palace. Wilfried Zaha is a man who loves this fixture though, netting eight times in 14 appearances against the Seagulls, whilst he’s also collected five yellow cards.
⚡ Hot stat: Eight of Brighton’s 12 PL home games have been level at half-time this season (HT: W2, L2).
Southampton vs Brentford - Match Preview
Southampton will hope their newly-found defensive solidity will be the backbone for a push towards Premier League (PL) survival as they desperately fight against the drop. Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Manchester United means they have kept three clean sheets in four top-flight outings under Rubén Sellés (W2, D1, L1), putting behind them an awful record of just one shut-out from their previous 28 league games.
Further evidence that the Saints have turned a corner under their new boss is illustrated by the fact they are now unbeaten in back-to-back PL fixtures for the first time since October (W1, D1). They do remain bottom of the pision though, and will surely have to improve on their dreadful record of just two wins from twelve attempts at St Mary’s (D3, L7) - the top flight’s worst home record - if they are to avoid a return to the Championship after over ten years in the top-flight.
They may struggle to improve that record against visitors Brentford, who have lost just two of the eight H2H meetings between the two sides (W4, D2). Thomas Frank’s side will arrive on the South Coast on the back of a defeat however, with Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Everton ending their superb unbeaten run of a dozen league games (W6, D6).
Frank was “frustrated” by his side’s finishing at Goodison, as the Bees suffered a blow in their hopes of securing an unlikely European qualification spot. They now sit four points off the top six but will be positive they can close that gap with a win here against the Saints, especially as they have not lost any of their seven league games against the teams currently occupying the PL’s bottom five positions (W4, D3).
📋 Key battle: Saints striker Ché Adams will hope to improve on a poor record versus Brentford, after netting just once in nine meetings and winning only twice (D2, L5). He’ll come up directly against Bees defender Ben Mee, who scored when Brentford won the reverse fixture 3-0 last month and has only lost three of his 12 H2H meetings with Southampton (W6, D3).
⚡ Hot stat: Brentford have conceded five goals in the opening 15 minutes of their PL away games this season, the joint most in the pision.
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