Bold statement from Mark Lawrenson on Brighton and Newcastle United
It is Newcastle v Brighton on Saturday and Mark Lawrenson has been making his prediction for the game.
However, he has also made a bold prediction concerning the overall season for the two clubs.
When it comes to the match at St James Park, the BBC Sport pundit believes Rafa Benitez will be feeling the positives of the last game at Old Trafford, despite the eventual last minute defeat.
Brighton had a very positive send off before the international break, beating West Ham 1-0 to move onto eight points from eight games and into mid-table, pretty good considering they have played four of last season’s top six already.
Newcastle of course can go one better, at least in that respect, having played five of last season’s top six so far.
Rafa Benitez will be hoping for/expecting a change of luck as these last two matches have seen Leicester get their first goal via a soft penalty, as the ball was fired at Yedlin’s arm from a yard away, only for the referee to miss a 100% penalty at Old Trafford when Ashley Young blocked Shelvey’s free-kick with his arm from 10 yards away. A penalty and very likely goal, would have made it 3-0 at that point and even Newcastle would have found it then difficult to lose that one.
If Rafa’s players can repeat that attacking display in the first half at Old Trafford, on Saturday, it will get the crowd going and surely also deliver a couple of goals against Brighton.
Brighton’s away form is shocking and they haven’t won on their travels for 11 months, losing 12 and drawing five of the last 17 away PL games.
Last season the Seagulls were very similar to the Magpies, relying on a well organised defence and making the most of the goals they did manage to score.
In 2017/18, Newcastle scored 39 and conceded 47, whilst for Brighton it was scored 34 and conceded 54.
Only the top seven clubs conceded less than Newcastle and Brighton, whilst of the clubs who stayed up, Brighton and Newcastle were two of only five clubs who didn’t manage to score 40 goals or more.
Bottom line is that it is unlikely to be a feast of goals on Saturday and the first one crucial.
Mark Lawrenson goes for a 2-0 home win but also believes that both Newcastle and Brighton will comfortably staying up.
The BBC pundit claiming the two clubs will be in the bottom eight but towards the top end of that.
I think the bottom eight may well be those who are there at the minute but in which order by May 2019, who knows.
Cardiff and Huddersfield are looking knocking bets for relegation and then you also have Newcastle, Fulham, Southampton, West Ham, Palace and Brighton in those bottom eight positions.
Difficult to see others getting into relegation trouble as I think the likes of Burnley, Bournemouth and the rest have a bit more to them than those at the bottom.
If Newcastle are to be in any way comfortable this season then starting with Brighton, these next 10 games are crucial, all of them against clubs who finished outside the top six last season.
Mark Lawrenson talking to BBC Sport:
“Brighton got a good win against West Ham last time out, but their away form remains a problem…
“They have not won a Premier League game on the road since 4 November 2017.
“Even so, there is more pressure on Newcastle to win this than the Seagulls.
“But I think Rafa Benitez will take a lot positives from his side’s performance against Manchester United at Old Trafford, even if they did not get the result they wanted in the end.
“The Magpies have not picked up a single point at St James Park this season but I am backing them to get off the mark in this game.
“Longer-term, their prospects actually look quite similar to Brighton’s, in that I am not expecting either of these teams to be relegated.
“They will both be in the bottom eight, but towards the top end of it.
“Prediction is Newcastle 2 Brighton 0.”
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]