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Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Defenders hold all the cards in Amex clash

Centre-back Shane Duffy has contributed to Brighton’s solid start
1 of 1

Premier League
Sky Sports Premier League, 1.30pm Sunday

El Clasicoast may well be the worst name for a football match in Premier League history and the marketing gurus who came up with that shocker could get the fixture they deserve at the Amex.

The name was first used for Hampshire versus Sussex cricket clashes and has now been borrowed to drum up interest in some kind of derby that is clearly not a derby given there are 68 miles between the two cities.

Brighton dislike Crystal Palace and Southampton hate Portsmouth so let's not pretend otherwise and it would be wrong to attempt to delude anyone into believing this has the makings of a classic.


Brighton form

Southampton form

Premier League standings


An early goal could change matters and not all great games are potential thrillers on paper but given this season's evidence it may take only one goal to secure maximum points and a bet on at least one team not to score makes sense.

Brighton will be pleased with their 11 points from nine matches since gaining promotion and that tally represents a solid start for pragmatic Seagulls manager Chris Hughton, who always likes to build from the back.

Centre-backs Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy look comfortable at this level and confidence should be high following the impressive 3-0 win at West Ham last time out.

However, both teams have scored in only three of Brighton's 11 games this season.

That has much to do with Hughton's organisational skills and Albion will fancy their chances of shutting down Saints, but there is a reliance on Pascal Gross to create opportunities.

Gross has been involved in six of Brighton's nine Premier League goals and will soon be a marked man. Presumably that will start against Saints and their defensive midfield anchor Oriol Romeu.  

The absence of Mario Lemina alongside Romeu is a blow for Saints boss Mauricio Pellegrino, who has done little to suggest he is an improvement on previous gaffer Claude Puel.

A tally of three wins all season - and two of them were 1-0 against Crystal Palace and West Brom - tells its own story and Southampton have been unable to get anything going in the final third, although Virgil van Dijk's recent return makes them even more solid defensively.

Three-goal Manolo Gabbiadini is the only player to have scored more than once while strike partner Shane Long is without a goal for club or country since finding the net at Sunderland in February and Saints were struggling against West Brom before Sofiane Boufal's fine solo effort.

Both teams have scored in three of Southampton's ten matches this term and including last season the run stretches to just four in 16.

Recommendation
One or both teams not to score
1pt 4-5 general

Bet on this game at Soccerbase.com

Team news
Brighton
Steve Sidwell is Brighton's only absentee, although Sam Baldock and Beram Kayal lack match fitness. Tomer Hemed returns from a ban.

Southampton
Mario Lemina is out with an ankle injury.

Key stat
Backers of no goalscorer have collected in five of Southampton's last 15 Premier League matches.


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Centre-backs Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy look comfortable at this level and confidence should be high following the impressive 3-0 win at West Ham
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