Brighton vs. Newcastle United Preview

Fa Cup

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Published: 02/02/2012

Falmer Stadium, January 28, K.O 5.15pm Brighton & Hove Albion have performed with a great amount of credit so far in their first season at the Falmer Stadium however they will have to step up to new heights if they are to overturn Premier League side Newcastle United in the F.A Cup fourth round on January 28.

Gus Poyet’s charges, who currently sit just two points away from the play-off zone in the Npower Championship, will get their first real chance to impress on the mainstream in front of the television cameras and show off their new home for the visit of the Toon Army who will be confident of a deep cup run following their impressive campaign to date.

But despite occupying sixth position and being placed above Liverpool in the Premiership, Newcastle will head into this tie on the back of a crushing 5-2 defeat at Fulham which all but put an end to their slim hopes of reaching the top four and qualifying for the Champions League.

The Cottagers fully exposed Alan Pardew’s side who were evidently missing the heavily influential Cheke Tiote and Demba Ba who are away on international duty for the African Cup of Nations.

And Uruguayan Poyet, who has already garnered a reputation for being a smart tactician in his relatively short managerial career, will be hoping his Brighton side can hand out the same punishment to Newcastle who are likely to be in need of some late January transfer acquisitions in order to bolster their thin squad.

The Seagulls certainly have the talent to cause a shock and striker Craig Mackail-Smith is perhaps the most likely man to inflict damage on the visitors - especially if their defence still recovering from that Fulham battering.

The Scot was signed by Poyet for £3 million in the summer and although he has only recorded six competitive goals in a Brighton shirt thus far, his performances have been nothing short of top drawer and he has subsequently earned five international caps for the Tartan Army.

As Brighton will be big underdogs to progress, a decent price should be available for Smith to net at any stage during the game but this looks a decent bet as he is sure to be the end product of anything that the hosts try and create.

If the home side can get away on the front foot, Newcastle could be in for a real struggle and their fitness and resistance could be found out once more.

Although the cup has to be treat completely differently to the league and league form, it is hard not to take into account just how easily Newcastle were carved open by a fairly average Fulham outfit and a fiery, atmospheric cup clash away from home against a decent Championship team is probably not what they will want as a follow up.

They may, of course, be able to initiate a backlash and it would be folly to suggest that they do not have enough class to be too strong for their second tier opponents.

Nevertheless, Brighton are capable of scoring goals and if they can reflect the passion of manager Poyet against the Toon and rise to the occasion over ninety minutes, a cup upset is not out of the question at around 4/1 and it definitely looks a tempting price for the intermediate punter who may be looking for a good bit of value for his/her twenty quid.


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