Brighton & Hove Albion-Burnley Preview
Whilst Burnley continue to struggle, Brighton & Hove Albion are looking to maintain their recent run of strong form within the Premier League.
The reeling Clarets will try to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat whilst looking to keep Brighton from a third straight win Saturday at Turf Moor.
With a spot in the Europa League and high expectations on the domestic front, this was slated to be a promising season at Burnley. However, it's becoming more of a nightmare with each passing contest.
The Clarets (2-3-10) enjoyed little success on the Europa front and currently find themselves amidst an 0-2-6 Premier League rut that's left them shockingly in the middle of the relegation zone - sandwiched between fellow underachiever Southampton and Fulham.
Burnley's latest setback came 3-1 against Liverpool on Wednesday. The Clarets actually struck first on Jack Cork's goal in the 54th minute. However, the Reds equalised eight minutes later and never looked back.
Despite another disappointing result, manager Sean Dyche, who does not seem to have reason for worry about job security, is trying to find something positive out of what's been a dumpster-fire of a season for his club.
"Although we didn't get a result, there were clear signs of an improvement in the performance (versus Liverpool), both individually and collectively," Dyche told the club's official website. "If that's a benchmark of a performance, then we've got to at least maintain that and find consistency and then add to that with bits of quality and key moments."
Brighton (6-3-6), meanwhile, continue to play well within the confines of the league, going 5-1-2 since Oct. 5 and posting back-to-back wins at Huddersfield Town and Crystal Palace in a span of four days. The latter Tuesday was quite eventful, in which the Seagulls won 3-1 over the Eagles despite playing with 10 men after Shane Duffy was booked with a 28th-minute red card.
Chris Hughton's side was already up 1-0 at the time, thanks to a Glenn Murray goal. However, Murray himself was forced off the pitch with a shoulder injury later in the first half with his team ahead 2-0, following a goal from defender Leon Balogun.
"I think we just wanted it more," goalkeeper Mat Ryan told Brighton's official website. "We showed desire to win, and even though we were a man down on the pitch, we showed our willingness to work together."
Whilst the Seagulls' collective confidence continues to grow, they do have reason for concern heading in this match with Burnley. They will be without Duffy because of the red-card suspension, and the status of star Murray and fellow forward Jose Izquierdo are both in doubt. Both are expected to train prior to this match, and their fitness levels will be determined to follow.
"Unfortunately, there's a quick turnaround before Saturday's game, so we'll have to see," Hughton said. "(But) we've got good competition at the moment - what everybody knows that if they want to be playing, they've got to be playing at a level that's going to keep them in the team."
Brighton and Burnley played each other to a pair of scoreless draws during the 2017-18 Premier League campaign.
Updated December 6, 2018