West Ham United v Brighton- the view from the Amex

  • Can the Brighton defence put in another impressive showing?

  • Is Anthony Knockaert now up and running as a Premier League player?

  • Why the draw is (again) the most likely outcome

Match Preview

When Brighton and Hove Albion left Withdean Stadium in April 2011 after a 12 year "temporary" stay, there was a great sense of relief that never again would we have to watch the Albion at an athletics track again.


Little did we know that six years later, not only would we be playing in the Premier League, but we'd be doing so away at West Ham United who would have swapped grand old Upton Park for the Olympic Stadium in Stratford or as it is now known, the London Stadium.

The new home of West Ham is admittedly a lot better than Withdean. It has a roof for a start and the away end isn't in a different postcode to the rest of the stadium. Still, it will be interesting on our first visit to Stratford to see just how alike the two are and what West Ham have sacrificed for the sake of bringing in a few more quid with the move.

As for the game, Slaven Bilic seems to be one of those managers constantly under pressure. Rather laughably, David Sullivan and David Gold - who were rumoured to be interested in investing in the Albion before Tony Bloom came along - said their aim was to deliver top four football. The Hammers look like they will do well to make top half football on their showing so far this season, sitting as they do level on points and one place behind us in the table.

With that in mind, this is a game that Chris Hughton will be targeting something from. We only have one point on the road and that came against Watford who played for over an hour win 10 men. Burnley proved you can stay up pretty much on home form alone last season and we really should have 9 points out of 12 had Bruno not taken leave of his senses and elbowed Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the face in the last minute against Everton on Sunday.

Now would be a timely moment for the Albion to improve on their away form with this game followed by the trip to Swansea, after which it's a daunting set of trips taking in Manchester United, Spurs and Chelsea in the run up to the New Year.

Head-to-Head

I'd love to be able to tell you about our last visit to West Ham, but I walked out after 20 minutes with the Albion 3-0 down in favour of watching the Grand National in the pub. The Albion ended up losing 6-0 that day and Synchronised who I'd marveled at battling through the rain to win the Gold Cup at Cheltenham three weeks earlier lost his life. Not a good day.

We've met 14 times in the league with a pretty even split of five Brighton wins, six Hammers wins and four draws. Only one of those Albion wins has come away from home - a 1-0 success at Upton Park in 2004 thanks to a Guy Butters header that summed up the "backs to the walls" approach of Mark McGhee's side at the time. The Hammers must have had over 75% possession and close to 30 shots on goal with it feeling at times that Butters and the rest of the back four were playing so deep they were behind Michel Kuipers' goal.

14/04/12
West Ham 6-0 Brighton
24/10/11
Brighton 0-1 West Ham
06/01/07
West Ham 3-0 Brighton
23/04/05
Brighton 2-2 West Ham
13/11/04
West Ham 0-1 Brighton

Brighton team and injury news

Shane Duffy went off injured towards the end of that Everton game with a groin problem and should he not make it, then Uwe Hunemeier would come in. The BFG was a real rock at the back in the promotion run in last season when Duffy was last absent so that change if it does indeed need to be made shouldn't cause too much drama.

Gaetan Bong started the last away game at Arsenal and given that Chris Hughton has form for rotating his left backs on the road and he might well return for Markus Suttner. Other than that, the likelihood is it will be as you were.

Key Player

Andy Carroll's suspension after his sending off at Burnley last weekend will, in an ironic twist, probably help West Ham if it means Javier Hernandez playing more centrally. Both Duffy and Lewis Dunk have won more headers so far this season than Steve Evans has had hot dinners and they would've relished an aerial battle against Carroll, as would Hunemeier if he is required. They've found it significantly harder dealing with players of the skillsets of Gabriel Jesus, Riyhad Mahrez and Jordan Ibe and with Hernandez being a tricky poacher in that sort of mould, he should present a significant challenge.

That makes whoever lines up at centre back the Albion's key players, along with goalkeeper Maty Ryan. We've only scored once away from home in four games so if we are to get something from the game it will come from keeping things tight at the other end.

Best Match Odds

West Ham 17/20

Draw 13/5

Brighton 17/4

My Best Tip for West Ham v Brighton

Draw half time @11/10 with Betfair

Hughton likes to keep things very tight for the first hour in games and seven of our 10 games in all competitons so far this season have been level at the break. Given how good we have been defensively and that West Ham have struggled in front of goal nearly as much as we have, there is a strong chance things will be level at the break.

My other tips for the match

Draw @ 13/5 with Betfair

There is every possibility that the stalemate will also be how it ends for a repeat of the point the Albion took at Watford. 13/5 represents good value for a bet that I seem to be tipping up every week at the minute.

Anrony Knockaert to score anytime at 4/1 with Paddy Power

Anthony Knockaert finally got the monkey off his back and netted his first goal of the season in the draw with Everton. Once he gets on a run of form it tends to last a good few games so it would be no surprise to see him notch again.