It's a trip to Brighton & Hove Albion for Southampton this Saturday. Ahead of the big Premier League clash, we got the lowdown on Saints' opponents from Brighton Argus reporter Andy Naylor...
How have Brighton been playing recently and what’s the mood like at the moment?
Back-to-back wins in the Premier League at home to Huddersfield and away to arch rivals Crystal Palace have eased – not removed – mounting relegation fears. They did not play well at Millwall in the FA Cup, but the dramatic manner of their comeback to reach the semi-finals at Wembley maintained the momentum.
andy naylorhughton recognises the home games against saints, cardiff and newcastle carry extra weight.
brighton argus reporter
How has the home form been this season?
Dependable again. They only lost four league games at the Amex in their first season back in the top flight and have suffered the same number so far this season. Three of those were single goal defeats by Spurs, Chelsea and Liverpool. Burnley beat them 3-1, but they caught them at the wrong time and the result was misleading.
How much importance is being placed on this game?
A lot. It comes before a visit to Chelsea on Wednesday and the FA Cup semi-final against Man City three days later. Staying in the Premier League is the overwhelming priority and Chris Hughton recognises the home games against Saints, Cardiff and Newcastle carry extra weight. They are not must wins – it is more a case of must not lose them.
What sort of set-up and style of play can Southampton fans expect to see from them?
The manager switched in December from his favoured 4-4-1-1 system, with injury-hit Pascal Gross in the ten role, to 4-3-3 in an attempt to have more possession and chances. They have, although the trade-off has been not as solid and defensively mean.
Who are the players in form, and who do you think could be key on Saturday?
He has not been in a rich vein of form, but Glenn Murray remains the chief threat, responsible for more than a third of the league goals. He also has a knack of scoring against Southampton. French winger Anthony Knockaert has been more influential in recent games.