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Newcastle v Brighton preview: Key European battle at St James' Park

Newcastle have Liverpool and Manchester United breathing down their necks as they aim to secure Champions League football for next season and a win over Brighton would go a long way towards achieving that goal.

However, it could be an intriguing game as the Seagulls have their eye on claiming a top-six spot that would bring them European football too, and their confidence can only have been boosted by their 3-0 win at Arsenal on Sunday.

WhatNewcastle v Brighton
WhereSt James’ Park, Newcastle
When19:00 Thursday 18th May 2023
How to watchLive on Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event
OddsNewcastle 19/20, Draw 14/5, Brighton 5/2

Newcastle looking to get over the line

Big things were expected at Newcastle following their takeover in the middle of last season, and everyone connected with the club will be delighted that they have progressed to such an extent that they lie third in the Premier League with three games remaining.

Reaching Europe’s top table would give them the potential to attract even bigger names to the north east, but they have struggled a little to confirm their place in the top four and are now nervously looking over their shoulders with Liverpool having posted seven straight victories.

Newcastle are 2/7 to finish in the top four while Manchester United are 1/6 to qualify for the Champions League, with Liverpool priced at 11/8.

Their home form has been strong and even though Eddie Howe’s side lost their last home match against Arsenal, that was only the second occasion when the away side has left St James’ Park with all three points.

They have also failed to keep a clean sheet in their last eight matches, which is in marked contrast to a spell between October and January when they conceded just once in the same number of games.

So manager Eddie Howe will be looking for an improvement, especially as his team needed two Callum Wilson penalties on Saturday to claim a point at Leeds, for whom Patrick Bamford missed a crucial spot-kick.

Brighton enjoying a great season

Few Brighton fans would have anticipated that they would be in the top six this season and with two games in hand over their nearest challengers Tottenham and Aston Villa, there looks an excellent chance they will be in next season’s Europa League.

Second-placed Arsenal are the only team in the top flight to have scored more goals on their travels than the Seagulls and Roberto De Zerbi’s team have found the net at least twice in eight of their last 11 league away games, so we can expect them to be positive at St James’ Park.

And they have every reason to be confident that they can collect three points after their strong second-half performance helped them to a 3-0 win against the Gunners at the Emirates.

They are 5/2 to become only the third visiting team to win at Newcastle this season, joining Liverpool and Manchester United, but some of their performances have been inconsistent recently, so that makes it difficult to put too much faith in them.

After all, a few days before their win in north London, they were thumped 5-1 at home by struggling Everton, who collected just their second away success of the campaign.

And before that a 6-0 home win over resurgent Wolves had been preceded by a defeat against relegation-battlers Nottingham Forest.

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Goals look likely

Neither team will have much to gain from being cautious in this clash and that should point to an entertaining encounter, so it is little surprise to see both teams to score available at 8/15 and over 2.5 goals at 4/7.

Four of Newcastle’s last five matches have each featured at least four goals and there could be plenty of interest in the 11/8 on such an eventuality occurring.

There is little surprise to see Callum Wilson heading the market to be the game’s first goalscorer at 4/1 and to find the net at any time at 5/4

The former Bournemouth striker has scored 10 goals in his last nine league games, which has shown how he has benefited from a run of games without injury, and the signing of Swedish star Alexander Isak has perhaps pushed him on to bigger things.

Isak, who has scored 10 goals for the Magpies this season, can be backed at 9/2 to score the first goal of the clash, while Brighton’s Danny Welbeck is available at 6/1 to net first.

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