Newcastle United head to The Amex Stadium on Saturday afternoon at 3pm hoping to make it two wins out of two to start the new Premier League season following a comfortable 2-0 win against Notts Forest as Brighton Hove Albion hope to do the same themselves following a convincing 2-1 win away to Man United at Old Trafford.
Winning the opening two games of The Premier League season is a feat Newcastle haven't managed since the 1997/98 season under Kenny Dalglish when wins against Sheff Wed & Aston Villa gave The Magpies six points from two games at St James' Park and it was the 1995/96 campaign under The Messiah Kevin Keegan when Newcastle last won their opening home and away ties beating Coventry at home & Bolton away on their way to winning nine of the first 10 PL games.
Brighton managed to win their first two games of last season in The Premier League beating eventually-relegated Burnley and Watford to record their best ever top flight start winning four of their first five games to lie in The Champions League positions but The Seagulls wouldn't win again until after Christmas and eventually finished in ninth spot.
Although the majority of the reporting since last week's 2-1 win at Old Trafford have focussed on Man United's shortcomings especially at board level - Erik Ten Hag has escaped a lot of criticism despite ludicrously preferring Christian Eriksen in a false nine position instead of world great striker Cristiano Ronaldo up front - Brighton deserve a lot of credit for what has become a trademark Graham Potter performance with a high press, intelligent passing especially in the final third and incisive attacking play and if Scott McTominay had been deservedly sent off in the first half and Danny Welbeck been given a stonewall penalty in the second, the score could have been 4- or 5-0 to Brighton.
Newcastle and Eddie Howe will have to be at their best to overcome The Seagulls and not be as profligate with set pieces and chances in front of goal as they were against Nott Forest especially in the first half until Fabian Schar's stunner broke the deadlock and Callum Wilson added a sumptuous second but The Magpies could have been out of sight with more clinical finishing from Wilson, Joelinton, Joe Willock & Miguel Almiron.
So it'll be an intriguing battle of two up and coming English coaches at The Amex in Eddie Howe and Graham Potter although the direction of travel of money and transfers - both Geordie centre back Dan Burn and Football Director Dan Ashworth have been poached from The Seagulls' nest by The Magpies since the Saudi Arabia-backed takeover went through last year and Brighton have also sold left back Marc Cucurella - who was their stand-out player at St. James' Park last season for £60M this transfer window to Chelsea - means Potter is forced to reorganise due to player sales, Howe is adding players he wants although he is yet to fully assemble the squad he wants.
Ahead of his first game back at The Amex Stadium as an opposition player after three years as a key player at Brighton before they allowed him to join Newcastle last season to live his dream, Geordie Dan Burn said: (via The Newcastle Chronicle)
"I'm looking forward to it! It'll be strange but I am looking forward to it as I did not get the chance to say goodbye to the fans properly.
"A lot of staff I also didn't get to see because it happened so quickly. It will be a tough game and we know we have only won one match so we need to kick on and put in another performance.
It's always tough at Brighton. They are very good and showed that last season and by winning at Man United last Sunday. We will prepare properly just like we did for Forest and I am sure we will have a game plan."
A lot has changed especially at Newcastle between last season's game & Saturday's.
Last November, Newcastle drew 1-1 with Brighton in front of a watching Eddie Howe, guest of new Newcastle co-owner Amanda Staveley as a deal for the former Bournemouth was being thrashed out and Howe saw the side he would soon take over fight back to claim a 1-1 draw thanks to Isaac Hayden's equaliser and would have won the game had keeper Robert Sanchez not cynically brought down Callum Wilson after the pass of the season by Joelinton in the dying seconds for which he was sent off but saved his side conceding a certain goal and losing a precious Premier League point.
That hard-fought point was in early November and The Magpies faced Brighton at home at St James' Park four months later in the return fixture and Graham Potter's men faced a Newcastle side transformed by Howe's coaching methods and the January transfer window with Dan Burn having switched sides and Matt Targett and Chris Wood starting in a 2-1 win thanks to goals from Ryan Fraser and Fabian Schar:
Speaking to the press ahead of Saturday's clash, Graham Potter paid tribute to the Newcastle resurgence under Eddie Howe:
And he was similarly full of praise for Dan Burn:
yet added he hoped Burn "he doesn't have a particularly nice day but we wish him well".
In his own presser, Eddie Howe expanded about the injury to JonJo Shelvey which sees the influential midfield playmaker miss the first half of the season before The World Cup in Qatar begins in November:
Speaking about Saturday's opponents, Howe paid tribute to the 'unique' challenge posed by Graham Potter's Brighton, a team and manager he clearly respects:
It promises to be a fascinating game between two teams who should be full of confidence after week one wins but Howe's Newcastle will edge it like they did in March with Potter's Seagulls better away from home than they are at The Amex Stadium and Newcastle will rising momentum once again. HoweAyTheLads!
Prediction - Newcastle 2 Brighton 1