By 90Min
November 19, 2017

At the beginning of the season many would have thought that Stoke would be sitting pretty in eight position and that Premier League newcomers Brighton would be staring down the table in fourteenth, but as things stand heading into the fixture on Monday 20th of November it is very much the contrary.

Brighton have enjoyed a successful start to the season so far with the club picking up the best points total of all the promoted clubs. Their style of play has been admired by many, with a strong ethos of defending implemented by manager Chris Hughton. Players like Shane Duffy and Lewis Gunk have really stood out for the Seagulls, with Jamie Carragher among their admirers.

The signing of Pascal Groß has been massive to Brighton's success, with the German boasting an impressive two goals and five assists in the league. The South Coast side will be heading into the game against Stoke with confidence after yet another impressive away victory, this time against Swansea. 

As for their opponents, Stoke have had an up and down season. An opening day defeat against Everton was a disappointing result, but a win against Arsenal brought hope to the Britannia Stadium.

Following the famous win, the Potters have slipped somewhat and have been on the end of some big defeats against top sides like Chelsea and Manchester City. Mark Hughes' side currently sit in fourteenth position, with the club hoping for an upturn in form as they look to avoid the drop.

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Signings for Stoke this season have been of the usual manner. Former Real Madrid man Jese Rodriguez signed for the club during the summer, along with the loan signing of Kurt Zouma and the acquisition of ex-Schalke man Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting. 

Jese has struggled to come to terms with the demands of the league so far, but as for Choupo-Moting he has been in fine form, with the highlight of his season scoring two goals against Manchester United.

It will be an interesting match up as Brighton will sit back and defend while trying to catch Stoke on the break. As for Stoke they will hope not to concede any set pieces and will try to play the ball quickly on the ground if they are to come away from the Amex with a win. 


Classic Encounter


Stoke hold the upper hand in this head to head with 16 wins and only nine losses, with 14 draws between the two. Stoke's biggest win against the Seagulls came in 2006 when they defeated the home side 5-1, while the two sides were in the Championship.

Two early goals from Adam Rooney, followed by a Mamady Sidibe goal before half time meant that the Potters went in at half time with a 3-0 lead. After the break Rooney got his hat-trick and Peter Sweeney added a fifth. A consolation goal from Brighton midfielder Doug Loft saw a final score of 5-1 for the away side. 

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That season Brighton finished 24th and were relegated. As for Stoke they finished 13th and soon would enter the England's top division and become an ever-present in the league. 


Key Battles


Groß vs Shaqiri

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Both men are match winners on their day. As mentioned earlier, Groß has been Brighton's stand out player this season and if they are to win against Stoke, he will be at the centre of the action. 


As for Xherdan Shaqiri, the former Bayern Munich winger has been in good form this season, but could find it difficult to find any space against a tough Brighton defence. 


The game could hinge on a moment of brilliance from one of these men, whether it being a goal or providing a crucial assist to win the game. 

Duffy vs Chuopo-Moting

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Shane Duffy has been in incredible form this season for both club and country. The Irish international has been rock solid at the back, with the defender holding the record for most clearances made in the Premier League this season, and will be looking to bounce back after Ireland's elimination in the World Cup play-off.

As for the Cameroon international, Choupo-Moting will be hoping to continue his good start to life in England with a goal against the Seagulls. The form of the Ireland man might prove to much for for the Cameroon man if Stoke decide to play the long ball, with that being said the former Bundesliga man will be no easy opponent to face, as two giants come head to head in a key area of the pitch. 


Team News


Brighton

No major injury news from the South Coast side. Dutch midfielder Davy Propper has been passed fit ahead of the game, after there was concern over the former PSV man's fitness following a thigh problem.

Stoke

Goalkeeper Jack Butland has been ruled out for a short period of time after suffering a broken finger on international duty. Welsh midfielder Joe Allen is one booking away from a suspension after picking up four yellow cards already this season.

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Predicted Line Ups


Brighton (4-5-1): Ryan/ Bruno, Dunk, Duffy, Bong/ Knockaert, Propper, Stephens, Gross, Izquierdo/ Murray.

Stoke (3-4-2-1): Grant/ Zouma, Shawcross, Wimmer/ Diouf, Allen, Fletcher, Pieters/ Shaqiri, Sobhi/ Chuopo-Moting.


Prediction

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Following Brighton's good run of form and Stoke's indifferent campaign so far, a home win is on the cards. It will not be easy for the Seagulls however, with a low scoring game a possible outcome.


Predicted Score: Brighton 1-0 Stoke.

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