Southampton vs Brighton Prediction
Monday 26th December 2022
St Mary’s Stadium
Click to Scroll to Prediction
Where Can I Watch Southampton vs Brighton?
Amazon Prime Video (UK, NI, CI, IoM); USA – TV channel: USA Network
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com
Southampton vs Brighton Prediction Match Overview
Following a lengthy six-week interlude to accommodate the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Southampton host Brighton in new manager Nathan Jones’ second Premier League outing with the Saints following Ralph Hasenhuttl’s dismissal. Southampton find themselves mired near the foot of the table in 19th place, two points from safety. Including the last 10 games of the 2021-2022 season, Southampton have endured a run of just four victories from 25 matches and conceded 51 goals with just 21 in reply. While they are slightly more solid at home, they’ve taken only six points from a possible 21 and will be hoping that new manager Nathan Jones can build upon consecutive victories over League One opposition in the league cup.
Brighton find themselves in an altogether more comfortable position. Building upon a respectable ninth-place finish last time out, Brighton have impressively started this campaign and it’s not a stretch to suggest that they will be challenging for a European place in May. High points for the Seagulls include victories over both Manchester United and Chelsea, and a draw at Anfield. Following a disappointing 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Aston Villa before the Premier League drew to a close for the World Cup, Brighton will be desperately seeking a win here to keep their European hopes alive. Although it’s early in the season, competition for European places is perhaps tougher than it has ever been, and therefore Brighton will have pencilled in this fixture against a Southampton side that has been struggling for quite some time to pick up a valuable away win.
Southampton vs Brighton Team News
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play: Lavia (Southampton)
Will Not Play: Walcott, Livramento, Larios (Southampton); Mac Allister, Moder, Webster, Welbeck (Brighton)
Southampton (5-3-2): Bazunu; Perraud, Bella-Kotchap, Caleta-Car, Salisu, Walker-Peters; Ward-Prowse, S. Armstrong, Elyounoussi ; A. Armstrong, Adams
Brighton (4-2-3-1): Sanchez; Lamptey, Dunk, Colwill, Estupinan; Caicedo, Gross; Mitoma, Lallana, March; Trossard
Southampton vs Brighton Prediction Analysis
Southampton’s Back Five
While some may argue that a back five is now a back three in modern parlance, we expect that Southampton will line up with both Walker-Peters and Perraud in an attempt to strengthen a shaky backline that has conceded over two goals per game in a run stretching to last season’s run-in. Nathan Jones has demonstrated in his last few games that he believes Southampton will be better served with an additional central defender and by playing full backs rather than wingers in wide positions as the Saints will need a better defensive platform to enable them to be more competitive in the Premier League. That they lined up against League One’s Lincoln in this way is indicative of a longer-term strategy to solve their highly-publicised defensive issues.
So what does this mean for this particular match? Brighton’s Danny Welbeck is a confirmed absence for this match, and therefore Brighton will be without his considerable industry in attack, and his ability to link the play. De Zerbi is likely to opt to play Trossard in attack, and there’s a danger that without a physical presence in the final third that Southampton’s back line could prove to be difficult to penetrate. Playing a high-pressing game to condense the play and potentially win the ball high up the pitch has been crucial to Brighton’s successes this season and there’s a danger that Brighton will find it difficult to do this against a back-five without Welbeck.
While the midfield battle is indeed a feature in most games, with the most notable exceptions being where one side sacrifices any ambition to control the middle of the park altogether for tactical reasons, here it is absolutely vital for both sides that they gain the upper-hand or at the very least don’t cede too much territory. For Southampton, gaining a measure of control in midfield is hugely important for several reasons. Firstly, it allows their chief-playmaker Ward-Prowse to get on the ball and start to look for options in the final third, and in particular, allows Southampton to stretch the play high up the pitch in wide areas via their wing-backs. Although we have touched upon the fact that their wing-backs aren’t of the flying winger variety in the final third, they will nevertheless be allowed to venture forward when the situation allows. Stretching the play will allow Adam Armstrong in particular to make use of the vacated space between the lines. What Armstrong lacks in goals he makes up for with his ability to drop off defenders and create opportunities and also space for others. Theoretically, this in turn creates more situations for Che Adams to attack the ball – if Southampton fail to win the midfield battle, then it’s Che Adams who will likely become isolated.
Brighton will be facing a back five when the Saints are out of possession and they’ll look to condense the available space so it’s vitally important for Brighton to move the ball quickly and intelligently. We anticipate that the available space will be between the lines but more centrally, with the channels well-marshalled by Walker-Peters and Perraud, and this is where the likes of Gross, Lallana and Mitoma will be required to support auxiliary striker Trossard. Movement, speed of thought and execution will be crucial here as Southampton will have a spare man at centre-back stepping out to help deal with these situations as they arise. Ultimately, none of this will matter if Brighton cannot disrupt Southampton’s midfielders in possession, particularly Ward-Prowse. Caicedo has been excellent so far this season at winning the ball back in central midfield and distributing quickly to Brighton’s creative talents, and in a game where we expect Southampton to be playing as more of an ‘away’ team, this will take on an added importance.
Beat the Bookmaker Southampton vs Brighton Prediction
With Brighton missing the qualities of a more traditional striker, we feel that although they will probably be the more dominant team both in terms of possession and territory, they may struggle to create enough clear opportunities to win this match. Southampton will be determined under their new manager to stop the rot, and Brighton’s expansive brand of football will render them vulnerable to counter-attacking opportunities at the other end. We predict a hard-fought draw, which is perhaps of more use to Southampton than it is to Brighton.
Southampton 1-1 Brighton
Beat the Bookmaker Southampton vs Brighton Prediction – Draw Odds:
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