By 90Min
February 02, 2018

Two of the 11 relegation candidates for this season will be facing one another in this feisty encounter, with both Brighton and West Ham hoping to work their way a little bit higher in what is proving to be a thoroughly congested lower half of the table.

Brighton are in ever-so-slightly the better recent form ahead of Saturday's clash at the Amex Stadium, buoyed not only by a 1-1 draw away to Southampton on Wednesday night, but also a 1-0 FA Cup away win against Middlesborough last weekend.

The Hammers on the other hand aren't faring quite so well. After what was perceived as a poor transfer window business-wise - not to mention a PR disaster thrown in there for good measure - David Moyes' boys head down south off the back of a 1-1 draw to Crystal Palace on Tuesday evening, and a FA Cup loss to League One outfit Wigan last weekend. The Irons' squad is currently threadbare, too, with a litany of injuries and suspensions plaguing the team.

Here is everything you need to know ahead of Saturday's game:


Classic Encounter

Warren Little/GettyImages

Brighton's promotion to the Premier League this season marked the first time these two sides would match up in the league since 2012 in the Championship. The reverse fixture this season ended in a 3-0 Brighton win, with Glenn Murray bagging himself a brace and José Izquierdo getting himself a goal on the day.


The 2012 game made for a good day for Hammers fans, with Sam Allardyce's men picking up an emphatic 6-0 victory. Ricardo Vaz Te was on fire on the day, notching a hat-trick and helping West Ham to maintain automatic promotion hopes. The result ended up denting the Seagulls' hopes of a play-off position. 


Key Battle

Glenn Murray vs Joao Mario

GLYN KIRK/GettyImages

34-year-old Murray will be hoping for a repeat performance of Brighton's visit to the London Stadium back in October, when the forward terrorised the Hammers' back line. The Englishman is currently enjoying a rich vein of form as well, scoring in both of the Seagulls' last two games.

With such an injury-laden team, David Moyes will be looking for his squad to show some resilience and grit, which he will be hoping will come via central midfielder Joao Mario, who has joined the Hammers on loan from Inter for the rest of the season.

The 25-year-old Portugal international impressed during his first Premier League appearance against Palace on Tuesday, and the Irons will be looking to him to bring an assured performance to help contain Houghton's men.


Team News

The Seagulls will be feeling positive after bolstering their attacking options in the transfer window, re-signing Leicester City striker Leonardo Ulloa on loan and Jürgen Locadia from PSV Eindhoven. Although this could go some way to helping improve Chris Hughton's team's attacking threat, record-signing Locadia isn't expected to make his debut until next weekend's match against Stoke due to an injury.

Where to begin with West Ham? The Hammers are expected to be without usual first-team starters Marko Arnautovic, Manuel Lanzini, Pedro Obiang, Winston Reid, Andy Carroll and Jose Fonte through injuries. Arthur Masuaka will miss the game after being suspended for six games for spitting at Wigan's Nick Powell, and things are touch and go with Michail Antonio after some rumoured internal disagreements with the club.

With West Ham now without their other attacking option, Andre Ayew, after selling him back to Swansea for £18m, this could mean that new boy Jordan Hugill - signed from Preston for £8m on Deadline Day - will be called upon to join fellow forward Javier Hernandez up top.

Potential Brighton Starting Lineup: Ryan; Schelotto, Duffy, Dunk, Suttner; Knockaert, Stephens, Pröpper, Groß; Ulloa, Murray


Potential West Ham Starting Lineup: Adrian; Cresswell, Ogbonna, Collins, ZabaletaKouyaté, Mario, Rice, Noble; Hernandez, Hugill


Prediction

While things don't seem perfect in the West Ham camp currently, the Hammers' Premier League form isn't too bad, recording just one defeat in the their last 10 league games. On the other hand, without the attacking players to call upon, it could mean that Moyes will set up his team as defensively as possible to clinch a draw.

Brighton will be desperately looking to get their first Premier League victory of 2018, and invigorated by some new striking power, they will be expected to go all guns blazing in this exciting encounter.

Prediction: Brighton 2-1 West Ham

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