Eddie Howe's on-fire Newcastle United have the ideal chance at St James' Park on Saturday afternoon to change the unwanted fact they have not beaten Brighton in The Premier League since being promoted back to the top flight with them in 2017 as Graham Potter's Seagulls continue to fall to earth after a great start to the season.
By contrast, The Magpies are on the up and are one of the form teams in the English top flight having won four of their last five games after a 2-0 win at Brentford saw Newcastle climb to 14th in The Premier League thanks to goals from two of The Triple Jo midfield trio messers Joelinton & Joe Willock in the first half.
Referee Mike Dean initially awarded Brentford a free-kick against Matty Targett but after consulting the VAR monitor corrected his 'mistake' missing DaSilva's potentially leg-breaking challenge on the Newcastle full-back and gave the home defender a red card after which Newcastle were rampant with a man advantage until the emotional return of Christian Eriksen saw applause from everyone in football and some Bees pressure.
Next up its Brighton and off-field events in the world continue to dominate the sporting arena with both club Captains set to wear blue and yellow armbands and supporters, players and officials will pause for a moment of reflection before kick-off in a stance of solidarity with Ukraine, colours Brighton will wear their yellow and blue third strip:
It will be an emotional game for Newcastle's new 6ft 7in defensive colossus Dan Burn, a Geordie who made the switch from the South Coast club he loved playing at to the North East to his boyhood heroes and has been a revelation since arriving at St James' Park as Newcastle become one of the Premier League's meanest defensive outfits:
Burn has been at the heart of that defensive stability with the 29 year-old bringing composure & experienced defensive nous along with his huge height matched by a big personality that is proving a real hit on GeordieLand who love one of their own in the team and his special Little and Large bromance with Ryan Fraser providing light relief:
along with a seriously developing partnership alongside Fabian Schar:
There is a growing belief at Brighton and in the football world generally that Brighton are significantly weaker since Burn departed with the defender a key part of not just their team on the pitch but off it as well in and around the club and The Magpies' & Seagulls' results and defences have moved in different directions since the deadline day transfer:
Some of that, of course, is circumstantial as Brighton defender Adam Webster has been injured and missed games and another of the Brighton towers at the back Lewis Dunk, 6ft 4in, was sent off against Man Utd meaning Graham Potter's men were without the three best centre backs they'd come to rely on when soundly beaten 3-0 by Burnley.
"I think he has done really well. What we would expect of him I would say because everyone held him in such high regard here,"
"He was fantastic for me, as I've said before, I think he is playing with a real confidence and a real maturity that he had and it is nice that he has taken that to his new club and we are pleased for him.
"Obviously we don't want it to go so well for him at the weekend but apart from that we wish him well."
Brighton-born centre back Lewis Dunk will play against Newcastle but Potter confirmed that England-touted Webster will miss the Newcastle match and games against Liverpool & Spurs with a persistent groin injury that is a big blow to The Seagulls, whose manager said they'll have to be on top of the game for the trip to St. James' Park:
As well as Dan Burn on the pitch, its a open secret that Dan Ashworth, Brighton's highly-esteemed Technical Director has also been enticed to St James' Park to be Football Director by The Magpies' new regime, who see the man who transformed the England national team's fortunes from perennial losers into contenders as the man to do the same at Newcastle and this 'best in class' operator will be another huge loss for the South Coast club.
Eddie's Eagles Can Keep On Flying
Everything is rosy in Eddie Howe's garden at the moment after three wins & a draw in February saw the Newcastle United boss nominated for Premier League Manager of the Month as Newcastle leapt from 19th place with 15 points to 14th spot with 25 points:
Scotland winger Ryan Fraser was nominated for the Premier League Player of the Month award after returning to the form which made him such a threat for Bournemouth under Howe's management after getting among the goals against Everton and a terrific cross for Joelinton's header against Brentford last week:
Eddie Howe's main selection dilemma is whether to recall Allan Saint-Maximin if he is fit to play & change a winning team from last week after the Frenchman missed a second game through injury but although it was Newcastle's first victory of the season without him, he walks into the team for Jacob Murphy if available and Howe gave an update about The Saint in his pre-match presser on Friday:
Newcastle have faced Brighton nine times in The Premier League without beating them and its a record that Magpies like JonJo Shelvey, who played in The Championship-winining season in 2016/7 when the black and whites beat the whites twice home & away and to first place and the trophy on the last day of the season, will be hoping to change.
Howe was an interested observer and guest of Amanda Staveley when the sides last met in November just before he took charge of Newcastle:
He saw a Magpies side led by Coach Graeme Jones fight back from a 1-0 deficit to draw 1-1 with Isaac Hayden grabbing a deserved equaliser and in truth Newcastle were very unlucky not to win the game when a sensational Joelinton cross field through ball released Callum Wilson who beat keeper Robert Sanchez, who tripped him up with the striker certain to score and saved the home side a point yet got a deserved red for it.
Eddie Howe took over the following week and although it wasn't plain sailing at first for the new manager, since a successful January transfer window results and form have picked up tremendously and he will be looking to continue that against Brighton.
Howe spoke positively about the increased competition for places in the squad after the new signings arrived in January and of course when a team is winning and on an upward trend of momentum then everyone is desperate to play and raise their game:
And the Manager of the Month elect spoke in glowing terms about Joelinton, who he still believes could do a job as a Premier League striker while praising his versatility:
so don't write the Brazilian off yet as the goalscorer he was initially brought to Newcastle for as his confidence turns him back into a player £40M looks a bargain for.
Prediction - Newcastle 2 Brighton 0