After four straight losses to open the new Premier League season, Bournemouth go into Friday’s home clash with Brighton already in desperate need of win and they are fancied to edge an open affair.
Last weekend’s 3-0 loss at Arsenal leaves just Bournemouth and Crystal Palace without a point so far. Brighton themselves have gained their breakthrough win with a 3-1 victory over West Brom at home, ensuring Chris Hughton’s side has four points from four games.
Eddie Howe will know just how much this match matters for his side – Bournemouth are 6/5 to win – given that the Seagulls are widely expected to struggle. For Howe and his team the biggest danger now is getting marooned at the bottom of the table.
It may be just the fifth game of the new term but this already has the feel of being a must-win for Bournemouth. Luckily, they have a decent record again Brighton – these clubs have locked horns regularly in the second tier – and the Cherries are undefeated in their last six matches against Brighton in all competitions.
The home support cannot complain about a lack of entertainment at the Vitality Stadium, with over 2.5 goals being scored in all bar one of Bournemouth’s last six homes league encounters (Over 2.5 Goals – 21/20).
What of Brighton following last weekend’s win? When Bournemouth come to review the video of that game, they’ll see a very un-Tony Pulis-like display from the Baggies who essentially rolled over in front of their hosts.
It was an important victory for Hughton and his troops but they’ll have to work much harder for further gains in this league, especially on the road.
Howe has some doubts in his defensive line for Friday night’s game and the visiting side can cause problems if they are attack-minded. Both teams to score at 20/23 looks a solid proposition in what seems likely to be an end-to-end tussle.
Bournemouth have scored just one goal so far in four games but they did show enough in their previous home game, losing 2-1 to Man City, to suggest they’ll be a threat in front of goal. They can kickstart their season with a 3-1 win over Brighton at 17/1.
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