Chris Hughton brings his Brighton side to St James Park for a third time on Saturday.
Newcastle won 2-0 back in August 2016, a result which helped ensure Newcastle were second tier champions nine months later.
Whilst a desperate goalless draw was what we saw in December (2017), both clubs comfortably staying in the Premier League by the time May came around.
It is 11 months since Brighton won away from home and Chris Hughton thinks that in the main, this is simply down to Brighton being a ‘lesser’ club/team playing in the Premier League.
However, Chris Hughton believes that Brighton are now benefiting from the further ambition they showed this summer in the transfer market, on top of the investment last season.
Whilst Mike Ashley insisted on a £20m+ profit on transfer deals, Brighton had a net spend of £50m+, meaning their net spend was some £75m higher than Newcastle’s.
Mike Ashley’s minions have laughably claimed that they were prepared to break NUFC’s transfer record on a number of players this summer, alleging it only didn’t happen because none of these (relatively) expensive signings were willing to come.
NUFC have talked the talk but Brighton have walked the walk, around £32m was spent on striker Alireza Jahanbaksh from AZ and Yves Bissouma from Lille.
Last season Brighton had a net spend of around £60m, compared to around £23m for Newcastle United.
It really sums up the task facing Rafa Benitez, Brighton are seen as one of the main clubs Newcastle are competing with to stay up, yet since promotion they have a net spend at least £110m higher than NUFC…
Chris Hughton speaking at his pre-match press conference:
Newcastle will view Saturday as a good chance to get three points, do you view it as a chance to end bad away form?
“Looking at the game logically and who would be favourites, they are at home.
“In our eight games we’ve played four of the top six and I think they’ve played five. This will be a little bit of a relief and release for them that they’re not playing a team in that top six.
“Similar to us, we’ve had some very tough games. This is a very tough away game for us and our away form is one that we know is a challenge for us to do better as regards picking up points.
“We have to look at it that way but they will look at it very similar that they are playing a team that’s not in the top six and it’s a good opportunity for them to win a game.
What are the problems away from home?
“It’s actually not that difficult. We are a lesser team playing in this division.
“We got promotion the season before last and last season was our first in the division. This is our second season and it’s tougher away from home.
“Every game we play is a difficult game and the large majority of teams we play have perhaps more experience in this division, are bigger teams than what we are, have invested more heavily than what we have.
“It’s just the levels and you know you have to play well enough away from home to get something. “
Is it a big opportunity to end the away hoo-doo on Saturday?
“It doesn’t matter who we play, I always see it as an opportunity to get points.
“It’s always difficult when you’re playing against the top six or away to Man City or Liverpool as we were but you go into them games thinking you can get something.
“You know you’ll need a lot of things to go your way.
“It will be no different at Newcastle.
“We are up against a team that are not playing a team in the top six and that will be a relief for them and they’ll look it very much as an opportunity to get points and we’ve got to be guarded because of that.”
Is there an extra edge going back to Newcastle?
“No. I’ve been back a few times now.
“I always look forward to going back.
“There’s no doubt it’s one of the best stadiums and atmospheres in the Premier League.
“It’s always nice if you come away with a result but it’s good to go back.”
With two points for Newcastle so far, what have you made of their start?
“There will be teams that will say they should have had more points and their level of performance is good.
“What you have to take into consideration with Newcastle is they have played five of the top six in their first eight games.
“What you also have to take into account is where Newcastle were last season. They had difficult spells last season and ended up finishing tenth position.
“I don’t think there will be any panic there at Newcastle, they have a good enough squad and a good enough manager to change the situation – I think that’s how they would look at it.”
Is the team more resilient this year?
“I think we are a little bit more knowledgeable about the league and, probably not in a bad way, a little bit more confident about the league.
“We recruited well in the summer and we have got good competition with players coming back but resilience is over a period of time and we’ve certainly showed that in a couple of games.
“Even in our last game at home, we were up against a really good West Ham team that asked a lot of questions. It was great to keep that first clean sheet and we needed it.
“That would have drummed home to the players that if you are able to do it, you’re capable of winning any game.
“We have to get back to a few more clean sheets. That’s probably been our strength.
“What we have added to the squad has also given us better offensive options.”