Match Preview: Brighton & Hove Albion vs West Ham United: Premier League Matchday Twenty-Six

Match Preview West Ham United

In the twenty-sixth round of matches of the 2017/2018 Premier League season, David Moyes West Han United make the trip to face off with Chris Hughton’s Brighton & Hove Albion in a battle of two teams that are desperately trying to pull away from danger in the bottom half of the table.

The Seagulls are fresh from a 1-1 away draw at the hands of South Coast rivals Southampton on Wednesday evening, while the Hammers were in action a night before that, enduring the same scoreline at home to Crystal Palace, the visitors are the slight favourites for this one.

When?

The encounter is scheduled to kick-off at 3 PM GMT this afternoon (Saturday 3 February 2017), and as is customary if traditional afternoon starts of that time, there will be no live Television coverage available for viewing in the United Kingdom.

However, you can catch live Radio commentary of the clash on BBC Radio London and TalkSport 2, or alternatively, if you don’t have access to a Radio later today, if you head over to @MooreThanAClub on Twitter, you can be sure to find live build-up, updates and reaction from the key affair.

Where?

The visit of Moyes’ Irons will be held at Brighton’s modern home Stadium of the American Express Community Stadium, the first English Top-Flight Ground in Sussex since the start of the Premier League era.

Also known as the Falmer Stadium, it has a capacity of just over 30,000 and was opened in 2011, hosting the Final of the Sussex Senior Cup in its first competitive match, the club moved there from the Withdean Stadium, following the Goldstone Ground.

Aside from Football, the stadium hosted matches at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, as well as a series of Concerts and away from the Seagulls, has been the home of one England U21 International against Austria.

West Ham have only visited the Stadium once before and that came in the second month after it had opened, October 2011, in the Npower Championship when a solitary first-half strike from Captain Kevin Nolan was enough to give the away side a famous victory.

Team News:

Seagulls Manager Hughton confirmed in his Pre-Match Presser that Captain Bruno, who has missed much of January so far, will return to the team having returned to fitness.

One new signing, in the form of loan man and ex-Seagull Leonardo Ulloa could be in line to feature from the start, but another new man in Jurgen Locadia remains sidelined with a hamstring knock, as well as the other long-termers, former hammer Sam Baldock is in contention.

Meanwhile, Hammers Boss Moyes confirmed in his Pre-Brighton & Hove Albion Press Conference held at Rush Green yesterday, which MooreThanJustAClub were fortunate enough to be in, that he finally has some more positive news on the injury front.

Key forward Michail Antonio is back in the frame, returning from an Injury and disciplinary issue, but the injury list is still pretty lengthy, while Deadline Day deal Jordan Hugill could well make his debut for the club in the starting Xl, Joao Mario may make his first ever away Top-Flight start also.

Form:

The teams of Brighton & Hove Albion and West Ham United have met an underwhelming 48 times in a fixture that has been being played since all the way back in the year 1903.

The overall record makes for pleasant viewing for any member of the Caret & Blue Army, as their team have 18 victories to their name in that time, tomorrow’s hosts have only 16 triumphs and there have been 14 draws along the way.

Notable past encounters between the two sides include West Ham’s 6-0 Upton Park thrashing of Brighton in the Championship in 2012, Albion’s unlikely one-goal win at Upton Park in 2004 or their shock thrashing in the last outing between these two.

The last time that the Hammers and the Seagulls faced off with each other came a matter of three months ago, when the South Coast side claimed their first away PL triumph thanks to a Glenn Murray double and Jose Izquierdo strike, Slaven Bilic’s penultimate home match in charge in East London.

The Opposition:

Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club was formed in 1901, gaining entry to the Football League 19 years later, and enduring a roller-coaster of a ride through the Divisions since then.

The most successful period in the club’s history came in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when they held Top-Flight status and even reached the Final of the FA Cup, losing out to Manchester United, they have never lifted a major honour in the English game.

Having lost that status, the East Sussex side fell dramatically down the Leagues, ending up on the very brink of Relegation from League Two and liquidation, though they were able to recover and make it from League Two to the Premier League in just 18 years, their first Top-Flight season in 38 years.

Nowadays, under long-serving Manager Hughton, Albion are holding their own in the PL, sitting 15th, a mere three places and three points behind the East Londoners, however, they are winless in the League in 2018, having been beaten twice in that time.

Who Is Officiating?

Experienced Select Group Referee Roger East will be the man in the middle this afternoon, acting as his two Assistants will be Matthew Wilkes and Andy Garratt, and taking up the role of Fourth Official will be fellow PL Referee Kevin Friend.

So, now that the Falmer Stadium scene has been well and truly set for an exciting afternoon of Premier League action on the South Coast, can Hughton’s men take a significant step away from danger with a first League win of 2018?

Or, will Moyes’ boys maintain their run of six Top-Flight matches unbeaten and make it three wins in their last five on the road in the Division? Think you know? Be sure to head over to @MooreThanAClub on Twitter to cast your late score predictions and join the pre-match discussion.

About the Author

Luke Glanville
Lead Writer and Site Manager of MTJAC, Sub-Editor for the Falbros Media Group.