Brighton & Hove Albion-Newcastle United Preview
It's been a rough start to the Premier League season for Newcastle United, who might have a hard time breaking free of the drop zone as the campaign moves forward.
The Magpies return from the international break once again looking for their first league win of the campaign Saturday against visiting Brighton & Hove Albion.
Bring things back to last season, and Newcastle (0-2-6) are mired in a 1-2-10 rut. That lone victory during the span came at home in surprise fashion over Chelsea on May 13.
For this campaign, Newcastle sit in the middle of the relegation zone with Huddersfield Town and Cardiff City on either side. All three remain winless in the top-flight, though the Magpies' six goals are two more than each of those other struggling teams have produced.
Newcastle entered the break in crushing fashion after blowing an early 2-0 lead in what would become a 3-2 defeat to reeling Manchester United on Oct. 6 at Old Trafford.
"They've got to stand up and be counted," former Newcastle captain and local hero Kevin Nolan told the club's official website about this current team. "This is the time now where you've got to stick together as a whole club - never mind just the players, the players have actually got to drive it.
"It's not down to anybody else except the players to make sure that they stick together and pull out a performance."
However, it seems adding any help, specifically in the January transfer window, will be tough for manager Rafa Benitez. Reports suggest the club won't have much money at their disposal to attract high-priced talent to help turn things around.
The Magpies, however, might find themselves experimenting more in-house. Especially after Japanese midfielder Yoshinori Muto scored against Manchester United in his first Premier League start.
Newcastle, though, would simply be happy scoring a goal against Brighton (2-2-4) after being blanked while losing and drawing to Chris Hughton's side during league play last season.
However, the Seagulls expect to see a spirited Newcastle group right from the start at St James Park this weekend.
"They're going to start the game very fast and we have to try to control the pace," captain Bruno told Brighton's official website. "Their intensity could be really high, but if we start well the fans could turn."
Glenn Murray's fifth Premier League goal of the season in the 25th minute stood up for a 1-0 victory over West Ham United right before the break to end Brighton's 0-2-3 stretch in the league.
Murray is now one goal away from reaching the 100 mark with the team. Whilst it's obviously a special honor, Murray is eager to reach that milestone and move on.
"I'll be happy to see the 100th goal come and go," he said. "It'll be a huge achievement to look back on - to get 100 goals for Brighton - but as soon as it's come and gone, the better, because it will be an extra goal in the tally."
Murray, who turned 35 last month, has scored one goal in five career matches against Newcastle over all competition.
Updated October 18, 2018