Football Field

Brighton and Hove Albion’s Relegation Battle Heats Up

The odds on Brighton crashing out of the Premier League have been slashed significantly after their 2-0 defeat against relegation rivals Cardiff on Tuesday night. It extended the Seagulls’ losing streak to five games and they are now perilously close to the drop zone. Their destiny remains in their own hands, as they are two points clear of Cardiff and they have a precious game in hand, but they desperately need to rediscover their shooting boots. They have not scored in their last five matches and they are also conceding far too many goals, so fans look set for a nail-biting end to the campaign.

Several bookmakers listed at OddsMarket have cut Brighton all the way down to just 9/4 to go down. They were 10/1 a month ago after back-to-back victories over Huddersfield and Crystal Palace, but their form has plummeted since then. They lost 1-0 to Southampton at the end of March, then suffered a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Chelsea and crashed out of the FA Cup against Man City. There was no shame in any of those defeats, but fans were expecting a strong result against Bournemouth on Saturday, as the Cherries have struggled on the road of late. Instead, they lost 5-0 and had Anthony Knockaert sent off to compound their misery.

Tuesday’s game against Cardiff was an enormous match at the bottom of the table. Huddersfield and Fulham have already been relegated and only one other team will join them. Cardiff are marooned in 18th place and a Brighton victory would have seen them open up a virtually unassailable eight-point lead over Neil Warnock’s side. Yet it was not to be. Brighton dominated possession, but they lacked composure in the final third and they were undone by a brilliant strike from Nathaniel Mendez-Lain and a Sean Morrison header.

Glen Murray came the closest to scoring for Brighton, as his second-half effort skimmed the bar and then he nodded against the post in injury time. He has been a fantastic servant to the club over the years, but the Seagulls have been overly reliant on his aging legs for far too long. His teammates have not delivered on their promise or their transfer fees this season and that has left Brighton toothless in attack on a regular basis.

They now face an almighty battle to preserve their Premier League status. Next up they travel to Molineux to face an in-form Wolves team who are reaping the benefits of the sort of investment in their squad that Chris Hughton can only dream of. Then it is a trip to north London to take on high-flying Spurs, who have a 100% record in their new stadium. Newcastle visit the Amex on April 27, and then the Seagulls must travel to Arsenal and then host Man City on the final day of the season.

Arsenal has been invincible at home of late and Man City are on fire. Both teams are desperate for points, as Arsenal are chasing a top-four spot and City are locked in a tense title battle with Liverpool. It is hard to imagine Brighton getting anything from those games, and the OddsMarket odds comparison tool shows them to be huge underdogs with all leading bookmakers. They may well need to beat Newcastle, try to nick a draw against Wolves and then hope for the best.

Cardiff has been extremely unfortunate in recent weeks, as several big decisions have gone against them. They looked poised to close out a famous victory against Chelsea, only for Cesar Azpilicueta to score, and despite being a mile offside the goal was given. The Blues then plundered a late winner. Warnock was also incensed at the manner of their defeat to Burnley, as they were on the end of some dubious officiating calls. They are playing pretty well and they are likely to take more points before the season is out. They face Liverpool, Fulham, Crystal Palace and Man Utd, and they will have earmarked six points from the games against Fulham and Palace, so Brighton really need to buck their ideas up and quickly.

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