Brighton will be looking to complement their fine run of form with a first home victory of the season against an in- form Leeds outfit at the Amex.
Supporters of the Seagulls have plenty of reason to be confident ahead of Saturday’s encounter at the Amex. The south coast side have enjoyed a strong start to the 2022/23 league campaign, gaining seven points out of a possible nine in a run of form which has earned them a respectable spot in fifth. In their most recent fixture, the Seagulls struck twice in a two-goal victory over West Ham United, ending the Albion’s five year wait for three points at the London Stadium.
Alongside this, Brighton supporters have good reason to be encouraged by the form of Pascal Gross ahead of Saturday’s fixture. The German midfielder has enjoyed a strong start to the new league campaign, with a combined 3 goals and assists in the opening three matches of the season. Alongside this, the 31-year-old has been crucial in creating chances for the Albion, having completed 107 passes and 21 crosses thus far this season. Therefore, if Brighton are to break down an in- form Leeds outfit on Saturday, it is crucial Graham Potter keeps Pascal in his plans.
However, Brighton are yet to find the back of the net on home soil this season. In their opening home fixture of the campaign, the Seagulls were forced to settle for a point in a goalless encounter with Eddie Howe’s Newcastle United. Although it is still early days for the Albion, it must be acknowledged that home form has not always been a strong point for the Seagulls. The south coast side picked up just five wins out of a possible 19 in league encounters at the Amex last season, a run of form which saw them fail to win at home for over five months. Therefore, if Brighton are to continue their fine run of form, home fixtures such as their upcoming encounter with Leeds will be crucial for the Seagull’s in their hopes of another stellar season.
With regards to team selection, it is now evident that the Albion will be unable to rely on Neal Maupay for Saturday’s encounter. The 26-year-old forward completed a move to Frank Lampard’s Everton on Friday evening, ending his three-year stint on the south coast. However, it must be acknowledged that the French International failed to feature for Brighton this season, meaning that Maupay’s absence will not be a major blow for Albion.
In similar fashion to the Seagulls, supporters of Leeds United have plenty of reason to be confident ahead of Saturday’s encounter. Whilst Leeds have picked up the same number of points as Brighton thus far this season, their superior goal difference has earned them a spot in the Premier League’s top four, with the Whites occupying a respectable spot in third. In their most recent fixture, Leeds brushed aside an early contender for the title in the form of Chelsea, putting three past Thomas Tuchel’s side in front of the Elland Road faithful.
In addition, Leeds supporters have strong reasons to be encouraged by the form of Rodrigo. The Spanish International has enjoyed an impressive start to the season, striking home four times for the Whites in the opening three matches of the campaign. Alongside this, Rodrigo’s ability to create chances appears to be a strong factor ahead of Saturday’s encounter with the Seagulls. The 31-year-old has already secured his first assist of the season, whilst providing 3 crosses and 67 passes for his side. Therefore, it is vital that Rodrigo remains the first name on Jesse Marsch’s team sheet if Leeds are to come away from the Amex with a victory.
In similar fashion to Saturday’s hosts once more, Leeds United go into Saturday’s encounter with issues of their own regarding victories, in this instance an inability to win away from home. In their first away encounter of the season, Jesse Marsch’s Leeds threw away a two- goal lead on the south coast as they succumbed to a 2-2 draw away to Ralph Hasenhüttl’s Southampton. Worryingly for Leeds supporters, the issue surrounding victories away from home is not a new one. The Yorkshire based club picked up just five league victories on the road last season, a run of form which saw them fail to win away from home for the first two months of the campaign. Therefore, Saturday’s trip to the Amex is crucial for Leeds if they are to avoid the abysmal form away from home which haunted them last season.
With regards to team news, it appears Leeds will be unable to rely on forward Patrick Bamford in their clash with Brighton. The 28-year-old picked up a groin injury in his side’s clash with Southampton two weeks ago, an injury which prevented Patrick from playing in their most recent league fixture. Whilst Jesse Marsch has provided hope on the potential of a Bamford cameo against Brighton, stating that ‘We think he’s doing well and moving forward’, there is no guarantee Bamford will be fully fit for his side’s visit to the South Coast.
Whilst there is great reason for supporters of Leeds United to be confident ahead of Saturday’s clash, the threat of Brighton cannot be undermined. The Seagulls pose a strong threat to Saturday’s visitors, with Brighton able to boast an unbeaten record against the Yorkshire side since their promotion to the Premier League in 2020. In addition, Leeds have never beaten Brighton at the Amex, with their last victory away to Albion coming in a three-nil win at the Withdean Stadium in November 2009. Therefore, with both sides fighting for different types of a ‘first victory’ at the Amex, Saturday’s clash promises to be one of the standout fixtures of the weekend.