​Brighton and Burnley meet for the first time in the ​Premier League on Saturday for an intriguing encounter. Brighton currently on a worrying run of form and Burnley flying high with the elite of the division.


After starting the new campaign confidently and adjusting well to the demands of the league, Brighton now find themselves languishing in 13th, just three points above the bottom three. 


It is not just their form that will worry manager Chris Hughton, but the lack of an attacking edge as they have struggled to score in recent weeks.

Huddersfield Town v Brighton and Hove Albion - Premier League

Sean Dyche's ​Burnley have been a revelation this season and have surprised many with their performance and results. He will be eager for his team to maintain their momentum as they head into the hectic festive period. 


The Clarets have refined their playing style from previous seasons, combining the long ball with some tidy football, and they have got the rewards for their efforts, positioned sixth in the league and level on points with fourth placed Tottenham. 


Classic Encounter


Burnley 1-3 Brighton and Hove Albion (September 2012)


It was a quiet opening to the game with the only moment of drama in the opening 15 minutes was when Kieran Tripper went down with a nasty looking injury.


The England Under-21 international was fine to carry on, though, and he watched his side fall behind as the visitors opened the scoring with the first telling shot on goal in the 18th minute. 


Gary Dicker delivered a free-kick to Craig Mackail-Smith and the striker hit a fine 20-yard effort for his third goal of the season.


The Clarets though were not to be denied and they levelled on the hour when the visitors could not deal with a vicious Junior Stanislas cross as it skimmed off Gordon Greer's head and into the corner. 

Leeds United v Brighton & Hove Albion - Sky Bet Championship

However, ​Brighton hit back and took the lead with a goal of the highest quality through Mackail-Smith, who had been denied moments earlier by a fine Lee Grant stop.


The Burnley keeper was helpless with the striker's next effort, though, as he found the corner with an outstanding overhead kick in the 77th minute. 


The points were wrapped up in the 87th minute when Andrea Orlandi's cross was headed home decisively by Greer, who made up for his earlier misdemeanour.


Key Battles


Brighton's midfield can expect a testing afternoon on Saturday. Both Dale Stephens and Davy Propper will need to be top of their games but remain disciplined against Jack Cork and Steven Defour.

Burnley v Watford - Premier League

Burnley have a terrific combination of creative flair and industry in their midfield and when they are playing well they provide the ammunition for their forwards to capitalise.


If Stephens and Propper can match their work rate and stop the supply at the source, Brighton could have a chance of turning a possible draw into a valuable win.

 

Up front, Chris Wood has made the transition from ​Championship football with ​Leeds to Premier League football with the Clarets look easy. 


The New Zealand international has shown good hold up play, thrives in physical battles and knows where the goal is, having scored four goals in his thirteen appearances since his move.

Brighton and Hove Albion v Liverpool - Premier League

Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk will be well aware of Wood, having played against him in the Championship before, and both will appreciate the strengths of his all-round game and the danger that he brings when on form. 


Nevertheless, the central defensive partnership for Brighton has been highly successful this season and they will relish the challenge that Wood's game will pose. They will look to dominate him to keep his influence minimal. 


Team News


Chris Hughton likes his teams to be defensively sound and work hard as a collective unit. He admitted against Spurs that he had been rotating his squad to freshen things up and manage his players. 


Therefore, expect a couple of changes to the starting XI as this game is an opportunity to earn some precious points to climb up the table. 

FBL-ENG-PR-HUDDERSFIELD-BRIGHTON

Club captain Bruno should start at left-back in place of Ezequiel Schelotto and Pascal Gross and Glenn Murray could also start up front to give Brighton more of a cutting edge in attack which they desperately lacked against ​Tottenham.


For Burnley, the formation will remain the same with their now familiar 4-4-1-1, Sean Dyche is unlikely to change a winning side.


Scott Arfield will continue in place of Robbie Brady, who remains out for the foreseeable future with a serious knee problem.


Brighton's Potential Lineup: Ryan, Bruno, Duffy, Dunk, Bong, Knockaert, Stephens, Propper, Kayal, Gross, Murray.


Burnley's Potential LineupPope, Bardsley, Tarkowski, Long, Ward, Gudmundsson, Cork, Defour, Brady, Hendrick, Wood.


Prediction


Although Burnley are superseding all expectations, expect both sides to be vigilant in their approach in a tight contest. The sides are evenly matched regardless of the contrasting league positions and will cancel out each other's threats resulting in a hard fought draw.


Prediction: Brighton 1-1 Burnley