Brighton boss to suffer frustration against improving Newcastle
Chris Hughton could struggle to get his revenge on former employers
Sunday 4pm, Sky Sports Premier League
Chris Hughton doesn't strike you as the vengeful sort but victory over Newcastle, the club who hastily cut short his first shot at Premier League management, would surely raise a wry smile.
However, the Brighton manager may end up more frustrated than elated as while both newly promoted clubs have proved capable enough in the top tier the Seagulls' lack of potency could force them to share the spoils.
Brighton have been solid rather than scintillating with a 3-1 defeat of West Brom their standout performance and the 0-0 draw at Watford creditable given the Hornets' solid start.
But while the 2-0 defeats to Leicester and Manchester City are excusable given the Foxes's home record and Citizens' ruthless form, last weekend's loss at Bournemouth would have been a concern. The Seagulls led 1-0 at Dean Court against a side devoid of form and confidence but failed to see out the game and lost 2-1.
Hughton should expect a more resilient display when roared on by a supportive home crowd, but his side welcome visitors who are beginning to look increasingly settled and united.
No doubt manoeuvres will continue behind the scenes but the end of the transfer window has at least allowed the focus at Newcastle to shift from the boardroom to the pitch.
Rafa Benitez is too good a manager to allow his side to get dragged into a relegation scrap and while he may not have all the tools at his disposal that he craves, the experience Spaniard still has enough to craft a decent Premier League side.
We are starting to see evidence of that in both their results and performances as, following disappointing defeats to Tottenham and Huddersfield, the Magpies have now won three successive league games.
The corner may not yet have fully been turned because while their 3-0 thrashing of West Ham was comprehensive, Benitez's men were a little fortunate in their victories away at Swansea (1-0) and at home to Stoke (2-1).
However, the team is looking increasingly comfortable at a higher level and will be confident of getting a result against compact hosts who offer more resilience than threat.
Draw & under 2.5 goals
2pts 13-5 BoyleSports
Dan Sait is the Football Editor of the Racing & Football Outlook - out every Tuesday