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Feb 8, 2020 at 5.30pm UK
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Preview: Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Watford - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Watford - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League clash between Brighton & Hove Albion and Watford, including team news and predicted lineups.

Two teams with relegation fears will lock horns in the Premier League on Saturday as Brighton & Hove Albion welcome Watford to the Amex Stadium.

Brighton are currently 15th in the Premier League table with 26 points, while Watford sit three points behind in 19th ahead of the huge fixture this weekend.

Match preview

Brighton have been widely praised for their brand of football under Graham Potter this season, but their sole focus over the next few months will simply be on securing their status as a top-flight team.

A run of just one win from their last 10 league matches has seen the Seagulls slide down the table, with 26 points leaving them in 15th position ahead of this weekend's four top-flight fixtures.

Only Watford (5) and Norwich City (4) have actually won fewer Premier League matches than Brighton (6) this term, which will surely be a concern for Potter heading into their final 13 fixtures.

They came from 3-1 behind to pick up a point away to West Ham United last weekend, but the result at the London Stadium followed a disappointing 3-1 defeat at Bournemouth on January 21.

Brighton did run out 3-0 winners in the reverse match earlier this season, though, and will be looking to secure their first league double over Watford since the 1990-91 campaign.

There is no question that Watford have improved under Nigel Pearson's leadership, with the 56-year-old picking up four wins and three draws from his 11 matches in charge of the club.

The Hornets have not won since beating Bournemouth on January 12, though, and have lost their last two against Aston Villa and Everton. They actually led 2-0 against the Toffees last weekend only to concede three times in what would have been a difficult result to take.

There is simply no downplaying the importance of this match considering that Watford's next two in the Premier League are away to Manchester United and at home to Liverpool.

Pearson has given them more than a fighting chance, though, as despite sitting 19th, they are only two points outside of the bottom three and would move out of the relegation zone with a victory on Saturday.

Watford have only lost one of their last seven away league games to Brighton, meanwhile, recording three wins in the process, although their last match at the Amex finished in a goalless draw in February 2019.

Brighton Premier League form: WDLDLD
Brighton form (all competitions): DLLDLD

Watford Premier League form: WWWDLL
Watford form (all competitions): DLDLLL

Team News

Brighton will again be without the services of Jose Izquierdo through injury, but Shane Duffy and Dan Burn have both made strong progress in their recoveries, with the latter potentially available to start this weekend.

Potter has no other concerns heading into the contest, and there are not expected to be too many changes from the side that started at the London Stadium.

Glenn Murray scored his first Premier League goal of the season against the Hammers and could keep his spot, while Pascal Gross and Aaron Mooy should feature in attack.

As for Watford, Tom Cleverley - out of contention since October through injury - has rejoined the squad and could make the bench this weekend, but the match is expected to come too soon for Ismaila Sarr.

The attacker has missed his team's last two Premier League matches with a hamstring problem, and Pearson has admitted that the Senegal international remains a doubt for this fixture.

Defensive trio Daryl Janmaat, Craig Dawson and Kiko Femenia are also still out, while midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah remains a doubt due to a back injury.

Should Chalobah fail to recover in time then Danny Welbeck could earn a start in attack, although it does appear that the former is winning the race to prove his fitness.

Will Hughes, Andre Gray and Ignacio Pussetto are also options for change, but it seems unlikely that Pearson will make wholesale changes to a side that has largely performed well since his arrival.

Brighton possible starting lineup:
Ryan; Montoya, Duffy, Dunk, Bernardo; Stephens, Propper; Trossard, Mooy, Gross; Murray

Watford possible starting lineup:
Foster; Mariappa, Kabasele, Cathcart, Masina; Chalobah, Capoue; Pereyra, Doucoure, Deulofeu; Denney

We say: Brighton 1-1 Watford

This is a really, really tough match to predict. Both managers will feel that they cannot afford to suffer a defeat, which is likely to create a cagey and tight encounter. We fancy a low-scoring draw at the Amex Stadium this weekend.

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