By 90Min
December 21, 2018
Bournemouth welcome Brighton to the Vitality Stadium for their last fixture before Christmas, as the Cherries seek to regain their early-season form. 

Eddie Howe's side have been entertaining to watch so far this season and started the campaign in scintillating form, winning five of their first eight Premier League games. In the process, Bournemouth scored 16 goals, whilst conceding 12 - making them a source of constant entertainment. 

Jordan Mansfield/GettyImages

Brighton, who will look to stifle Bournemouth on Saturday, are without a clean sheet in their last eight games so there's potential for a high-scoring Christmas cracker here. 

Check out 90min's preview of the game below.


Where to Watch

When Is Kick Off? Saturday 22nd December
What Time Is Kick Off? 15:00 (BST)
Where Is It Played? The Vitality Stadium
TV Channel/Live Stream? Gillette Soccer Saturday
Referee? Mike Dean

Team News

Despite a few long-term injuries, Bournemouth go into their game against Brighton relatively unburdened by absentees. Adam Smith (knee injury), Dan Gosling (knee injury), and Lewis Cook (anterior cruciate ligament) have all been ruled out of the game. 

Simon Francis. meanwhile, is a doubt having picked up a hip injury during the Cherries' demolition at the hands of Liverpool. Eddie Howe will likely welcome Callum Wilson back to the starting lineup following his hamstring troubles.

Dan Mullan/GettyImages

Brighton, like Bournemouth, have been able to keep the majority of their players away from the clutches of injury this season and can turn up to the Vitality with almost everyone available. Both José Izquierdo (knee injury) and Alireza Jahanbaksh (hamstring injury) are out though until at least Boxing Day.

Chris Hughton also has a suspension to contend with after Shane Duffy's straight red card against Crystal Palace two games ago. Having been suspended for three games, the fixture against Bournemouth will be the last that Duffy misses through his suspension.


 

Predicted Lineups

Bournemouth Begovic; Cook, Aké, Mings; Ibe, Lerma, Surman, Daniels; King, Fraser, Wilson
Brighton Ryan; Montoya, Balogun, Dunk, Bernardo; Knockaert, Stephens, Propper, March; Groß, Murray

Head to Head Record

This fixture has been played 107 times but, rather astonishingly, only twice in the history of England's top division. In total, Bournemouth have the advantage with 41 victories but Brighton are clinging onto their coattails with 37 wins.

Bryn Lennon/GettyImages

The two sides faced each other three times last season, with the extra game coming in the Carabao Cup. The Cherries were unbeaten against Brighton in these games, winning two of them and drawing the game at the Amex. 

Bournemouth's record in the last five games against the Seagulls is even more emphatic, with four wins and just the one draw. Brighton will certainly have their work cut out for them on Saturday, if history is anything to go by.


Recent Form

However, there is a glimmer of hope for Brighton with Bournemouth's form somewhat curtailing since the beginning of the season. Eddie Howe's side have won just one of their last eight games, losing seven of these.

This statistic might be somewhat misleading though given the Cherries' fixture list in this time. Of Bournemouth's seven losses, five of them came against sides who finished in the top six last season, including the high-flying Manchester City and Liverpool.

Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

Brighton, meanwhile, have been in mixed form of late. The Seagulls have lost their last two games against Chelsea and Burnley, but had won two on the trot prior to these defeats. Sitting nine points above the relegation zone, Chris Hughton will be more than satisfied with his side's start to the campaign. 

Here's how the two sides have performed in their last five fixtures:

Bournemouth Brighton
Chelsea 1-0 Bournemouth (19/12)
Brighton 1-2 Chelsea (16/12)
Wolves 2-0 Bournemouth (15/12) Burnley 1-0 Brighton (08/12)
Bournemouth 0-4 Liverpool (08/12) Brighton 3-1 Crystal Palace (04/12)
Bournemouth 2-1 Huddersfield (04/12) Huddersfield 1-2 Brighton (01/12)
Manchester City 3-1 Bournemouth (01/12) Brighton 1-1 Leicester City (24/11)

Prediction

Bournemouth's recent form has seen them drop from the top six to the bottom half of the table as they currently languish down in 11th place. Eddie Howe will be desperate to see his side return to winning ways and to do so confidently.

However, Brighton will be no pushovers with Chris Hughton certain to have a game plan ready in an attempt to disrupt the Cherries' free-flowing football. 

Nevertheless, Bournemouth have been unfortunate with their recent fixtures and have shown their best football at the Vitality. It's hard to look beyond the Cherries for the victory in this game and, if they can get an early goal, Bournemouth's fans could be in for a pre-Christmas show. 

Prediction: Bournemouth 3-1 Brighton

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