Match Preview- Fulham vs Brighton and Hove Albion
Brighton will be looking to continue their fine run of form in Tuesday evening’s trip to Fulham, with a fourth consecutive victory in all competitions on the cards for the Albion.
Graham Potter’s Brighton have plenty of reason to be confident ahead of their visit to Craven Cottage. The Seagulls have produced an outstanding start to the new season, with three league wins out of a possible four allowing the Albion to earn themselves a respectable spot in fourth. In their most recent fixture, Graham Potter’s side edged past an in-form Leeds outfit to record a first home victory of the campaign, with Pascal Gross striking home to earn all three points for the Seagulls.
Alongside this, Tuesday night’s clash in the capital provides Brighton with the opportunity to go top of the Premier League, on this occasion for a longer period than that of Saturday. The Seagulls found themselves top of the table for a matter of minutes on Saturday afternoon, with Erling Haaland’s late strike against Crystal Palace spoiling the party for the Seagulls. However, Tuesday evening provides the Albion with an opportunity to sit at the top of the table for at least 24 hours, a feat which will undoubtedly be of interest to the south coast side.
Whilst Graham Potter’s side as a whole have earnt plenty of plaudits thus far this season, supporters of the Seagulls will be exceptionally fond of Pascal Gross for his efforts since the campaign commenced. The German midfielder has played a pivotal role for Brighton in the opening four matches of the campaign, with a combined tally of 4 goals and assists in four matches allowing the Seagulls to secure a spot in the Premier League’s top four. Alongside this, supporters of the south coast side will be pleased to learn that Pascal has already exceeded his goal tally from the previous campaign. The 31-year-old struck home just twice for the Seagulls last season, having made 29 league appearances out of a possible 38. However, given his exceptional change in fortune thus far this season, it appears as though the 2022/23 season could be a promising one for Pascal, a factor which will continue to be evident if his efforts guide the Albion to victory on Tuesday evening.
With regards to team selection, supporters of the seagulls will be aware of Adam Lallana’s expected absence from the Albion’s starting line-up. The 34-year-old midfielder is expected to be unavailable for at least a month, having missed last Saturday’s encounter with Leeds due to a calf injury. Speaking on the injury, Brighton boss Graham Potter stated that ‘He felt his calf, so he has a problem with his calf. So, we are looking at the other side of the International break I would guess.’ Therefore, with Lallana ruled out for the next month at a minimum, it is evident Graham Potter will have to adjust his plans once more ahead of Tuesday night’s tie, a blow for Brighton given Lallana’s impressive start to the season.
Whilst the visit of Brighton provides a tough test for Fulham, there is plenty of reason for supporters of Marco Silva’s side to be optimistic ahead of their encounter with the Albion. The Cottagers have caused a number of upsets thus far this season, with results including a 2-2 draw against title contenders Liverpool and a 3-2 victory over West London rivals Brentford earning Fulham plenty of plaudits in their return to the top- flight. In their last match, Fulham suffered late heartbreak in a 2-1 defeat away to Arsenal, with a late goal from Gabriel providing Fulham with their first defeat of the campaign. However, given Fulham’s ability to put top sides to the sword as highlighted thus far this season, it is evident that the Cottagers will be no pushovers in Tuesday night’s clash.
Alongside their impressive start to the campaign, Fulham supporters can take great encouragement from the form of Aleksandar Mitrovic. The Serbian Forward has enjoyed an exceptional start to the season, with his total of four goals in four matches guiding Fulham to a respectable spot in 11th ahead of Tuesday night’s fixture. In addition to this, Mitrovic has already earned himself a spot at the top of Fulham’s goal scoring charts, a factor which Fulham supporters will agree is far from abnormal. The 27-year-old finished the 2021/22 League campaign as top scorer both for Fulham and in the Sky Bet Championship as a whole, having struck home 43 times for the Cottagers. Whilst some supporters may argue that the Premier League provides a greater challenge in comparison to the Championship, the threat of a proven goal- scorer in Aleksandar Mitrovic cannot be denied, thus providing great hope for the Cottagers in their upcoming clash with the Seagulls.
With regards to team selection, Marco Silva will be aware that he is unable to call upon Irish defender Shane Duffy. The 30-year-old, who joined Fulham in the summer, is unable to feature for the Cottagers in their upcoming clash due to the fact that he is currently on loan from Tuesday’s opponents Brighton, for whom he has made over 100 appearances. Whilst the absence of Duffy does somewhat hamper Marco Silva’s selection, it must be acknowledged that the Irish International has featured just twice for the Cottagers this season, providing little impact for his side thus far. Therefore, it is difficult to imagine that Duffy’s absence will provide a major advantage to his parent club.
Whilst the last two meetings between these sides have ended goalless, the recent form of both Fulham and Brighton suggests that the same score- line won’t be repeated on Tuesday evening. Although Brighton will recognise the possibility of ending Tuesday top of the table, it must be acknowledged that their opponents provide a threat strong enough to capsize those ambitions. Therefore, despite the difference in league positions, Tuesday’s clash at Craven Cottage could prove to be a captivating one.