Bournemouth vs Brighton Match Preview: Form, Classic Encounter, Key Battle, Team News & More
Bournemouth welcome Brighton and Hove Albion to Dean Court on Friday evening with Eddie Howe's side still looking to get their first point of the 2017/18 Premier League season.
The Seagulls have unsurprisingly found life in the top-flight a lot tougher than their Championship campaign last season, but shrewd signings such as Pascal Groß and Davy Pröpper means that they certainly do not lack the quality to stay up.
This could be one of the first 'six pointers' of the season for both sides, and here's everything you need to know ahead of the clash at Dean Court:
Bournemouth have suffered a torrid start to the season, with four losses in a row and eight goals conceded seeing them sit in 19th place in the Premier League table.
The under-use of reported £130k-a-week striker Jermain Defoe has been baffling and the Cherries have simply struggled to score - only full-back Charlie Daniels has netted in the league this season.
After a tough opening two games at home to Man City and away at Leicester, Chris Hughton's Brighton recently enjoyed a 3-1 victory over the normally solid West Bromwich Albion, but the Premier League newcomers are still just one point above the relegation zone.
Pascal Groß enjoyed a fine pre-season and tops the goalscoring charts for the Seagulls so far, while striker Tomer Hemed has enjoyed somewhat of a resurgence after only being the third-choice striker last year.
The last time the two clubs met, Bournemouth edged closer to promotion to the Premier League after second-half goals from Yann Kermorgant and Callum Wilson sealed a 2-0 victory away at the AMEX Stadium.
After a tight first-half in which neither side had any real sight of goal, Brighton striker Leon Best missed a golden opportunity on the hour as a scuffed shot from 10 yards out went straight to Artur Boruc in the Bournemouth goal.
With just 20 minutes to go, Yann Kermorgant curled in a superb 25-yard free-kick into top-right hand corner of the goal before Callum Wilson doubled the Cherries' lead after collecting Kermorgant's through ball, turning Greg Halford inside and out before coolly slotting home his 21st goal of the season.
Wilson's strike - Bournemouth's 89th of 2014-15 - saw his side break their highest tally for goals scored in a league campaign which saw the Cherries win the Championship on the last day of the season.
Andrew Surman vs Pascal Groß
Brighton's reported £2.7m summer signing Groß has proven invaluable to the Seagulls this season, with his two goals scored and seven chances created being a key reason as to why the former Championship side are currently above the drop zone.
Groß plays a key role as the trequartista of the Brighton side, providing the link between midfield and attack. Not only is his link up play with Tomer Hemed a major part of the Seagulls' Premier League dynamic, but the German often draws defenders forward from their back line and then can easily offload to Anthony Knockaert and Solly March on the wings.
Andrew Surman is normally the anchor man of the Bournemouth midfield and so the South African will need to ensure that Groß is kept under wraps.
Bournemouth have already conceded eight times this season, and if Groß is allowed to dictate play and create chances for the likes of Knockaert and Pröpper to move up the pitch, then we could see the back of the Dean Court net being hit a few more times on Friday night.
Bournemouth winger Ryan Fraser limped off before half-time during their defeat to Arsenal and so is not expected to play any part on Friday, while long-term absentee and key player Callum Wilson is still out injured.
Eddie Howe may revert back to a four man defence after back-to-back losses and Simon Francis is likely to place Tyrone Mings at the back after the former Ipswich man was substituted early in their previous game.
Chris Hughton is unlikely to make many changes to his starting eleven after their morale-boosting 3-1 win at home to West Brom.
Liam Rosenior may replace injury-doubt Bruno at right-back, but midfielders Beram Kayal and Steve Sidwell, as well as striker Sam Baldock will definitely not feature through injury.
Potential Bournemouth Starting Lineup (4-3-3): Begović; Smith, Aké, Francis, Daniels; Gosling, Surman, Arter; King, Defoe, Ibe.
Potential Brighton Starting Lineup (4-4-1-1): Ryan; Rosenior, Dunk, Duffy, Suttner; March, Stephens, Pröpper, Knockaert; Groß; Hemed.
After picking up some form, Brighton will be expected to hit the back of the net at least once against a Bournemouth side lacking confidence.
A more attacking formation from Eddie Howe should shore up their goal-scoring problems, but a draw will be the most likely result.
Prediction: Bournemouth 1-1 Brighton