Potential banana skin and Burke the dangerman: The inside track on Brighton ahead of trip to Sheffield United
Relegated Sheffield United return to Premier League action on Saturday evening when they face Brighton and Hove Albion at Bramall Lane.
Ahead of the clash, we spoke to Adam Stenning, sports writer at The Argus, to get the inside track on the opposition.
How are the nerves amongst the fanbase ahead of the season run-in, given where you are in the table?
Fans remain confident that Albion will beat the drop. They are seven points clear of Fulham in 18th with a game in hand over the cottagers. Then when you look at their superior goal difference it puts them into a really good position.
Is this game seen as a potentially tricky one, given United can see it completely as a free hit?
It could be a potential banana skin. Albion have always struggled to get results against the sides around them in the table for example at West Bromwich Albion where they lost 1-0.
United’s players will be looking to put in some good performances for the remainder of the season and put themselves in the shop window for a Premier League move next season.
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However, the Seagulls know one more win could effectively secure their top-flight status next season and the game against United is one of the best chances for them.
Are you surprised to have seen United struggle so badly?
Yes definitely, especially given how well they did last season with largely the same squad as this season. I think injuries to key players have hindered them, but when I have watched them they have not performed badly, but only thing I did notice is the lack of threat in the attacking third, which has been evident in the number of goals they have scored this season.
Who will be your key man?
There are plenty to choose to from, but I would have to go with Yves Bissouma. The Malian has been one of the first names on the teamsheet and has been vital for Albion in the middle of the park. He has shown he has the pace and willingness to get stuck into the midfield no matter the quality of the opposition.
He also pops up with the odd goal and when he scores they tend to be impressive strikes. For example his two goals this season were a volley against Everton in October and a 30-yard strike which found the top corner against Blackpool in the FA Cup at the start of this year.
And how do you assess United's threats from afar?
Well I do think Rhian Brewster always looks a threat for the Blades. He is still adapting to the Premier League, but always seems to put himself about and try to make things happen for United. The other player who caught the eye for me in the reverse fixture is Oliver Burke. His pace was a threat for Albion.
Predicted line-up and score?
Albion will be forced to make forced into making at least one change with White out, but I think Adam Lallana and Neal Maupay will start after being given a bit of a rest against Chelsea.
So I’ll go for this line-up: Sanchez, Veltman, Dunk (c), Webster, Burn, Bissouma, Lallana, Gross, Trossard, Welbeck and Maupay.
The Seagulls are in good form and have looked solid at the back so I’ll go for a 2-0 win and all three points coming back to Sussex with them.