Many fans are understandably dubbing the visit of Brighton as a must win game to provide a late driving start to the season.
The first half of the last match against Man United was the best the club has played throughout the season so far. One question in readiness for Saturday is: Will Yoshinori Muto start after his impressive first league start and will he be capable of troubling the Brighton centre backs, Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk?
When looking at certain statistics in relation to the upcoming match, Brighton's away record thus far this season as well as Chris Hughton's record against us (since his harsh departure in December 2010) do not show glamorous reading for the Seagulls. Brighton have only picked up one point on their travels this season and that came just across the road at Southampton. Since Hughton left Newcastle, he has lost four and drawn three from the eight games he has managed against Newcastle whilst managing Norwich and Brighton.
Facts and Figures
Newcastle wins: 9
Brighton wins: 9
Newcastle wins: 8
Brighton wins: 5
League at St. James’ Park
Newcastle wins: 4
Brighton wins: 2
Previous ten (all competitions)
Brighton wins: 5 (12 goals)
Newcastle wins: 2 (8 goals)
Biggest win: Newcastle United 5 - 0 Brighton (21/10/1961)
Biggest defeat: Newcastle United 1 – 3 Brighton (05/05/1979)
Newcastle United 2 - 0 Brighton – 27/08/2016 (Championship)
Matz Sels: Fell victim to Sam Baldock’s second bookable offence to get himself sent off. Sels arguably made the most of the situation with a theatrical fall. The referee, Keith Stroud had a very bad game St. James’ Park and that was not the only time we said those words that season as he was in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons when Burton Albion visited Tyneside the following April in awarding Burton a free kick after Dwight Gayle encroached on Matt Ritchie’s first half penalty.
Jamaal Lascelles: Opened the scoring after 15 minutes with a free header from Ritchie’s free kick. A free header going low into the corner. Brighton keeper, David Stockdale managed to get a hand to it but could not keep it out.
Matt Ritchie: Assisted Lascelles’ goal with a free kick crossed in. Ritchie showed a great amount of precision to find his teammate with the set piece curling away from the goal.
Jonjo Shelvey: Scored his first goal for the club with a beautifully struck free kick which wrapped up the three points. Plenty of curl was on the ball deceived Stockdale so much that he did not even attempt to save it, not that he would have had much chance anyway.
Yoan Gouffran: Rattled the bar from long range in the first half. Left the club at the end of the season upon the expiry of his contract. A contract extension was deservedly offered after he became one of the club’s key players in their promotion season. However, the Frenchman perhaps wanted to leave St. James’ Park on a high and did not want to risk his time on Tyneside to finish with potentially poor performances. It can be argued that Gouffran found his level in the Championship.