01-Jan-2018 11:42:52 | The Guardian
Brighton: Ryan, Schelotto, Duffy, Dunk, Suttner, Knockaert, Stephens, Propper, Izquierdo, Gross, Murray. Subs: Saltor, Kayal, Hemed, Goldson, March, Krul, Brown.
Bournemouth: Begovic, Adam Smith, Francis, Steve Cook, Daniels, Ibe, Lewis Cook, Arter, Pugh, Afobe, Callum Wilson. Subs: Boruc, Gosling, Ake, Surman, Mousset, Butcher, Simpson.
Happy New Year and welcome to Football 2018! After a hiatus of around 37 seconds, the Premier League swings back into action on the south coast where Brighton take on Bournemouth in what I’ll call the the slot-machine derby (which isn’t a derby at all given that 100 miles separates the seaside resorts). The clubs are much closer together in the Premier League table than they are geographically, what with Brighton in 12th place on 22 points and Bournemouth, in 14th place, on 20 points. Interestingly (if you’re a nerd like me), Southampton are wedged between the two clubs in the table, just as they are on a map of the south coast of England.
Now, not to put a dampener on things, but in the last round of Premier League fixtures most of the players understandably looked knackered and 0-0 was a familiar scoreline. That was the score between Newcastle and Brighton in a snore-fest at St James’ Park but Bournemouth looked more sprightly against Everton and earned their first win since the 18th November. Brighton have won only once since the 4 November, a 1-0 home win against Watford. It’s tight at the bottom (West Ham are on 18 points in 18th) and this is a winnable game for both sides. But I fear it will be cagey. I reckon there will be a maximum of three goals if we’re lucky.
Related: January transfer window: club-by-club guide for the Premier League