Newcastle United and Brighton will face each other at St. James' Park on Saturday as both sides look to end 2017 on a high.


Rafael Benitez's side will be desperate for a win as they look to end a wretched run of form that has seen them win one of their last 11 games, leaving the Magpies a point above the relegation zone.


Brighton, meanwhile, find themselves in a similar slump of form with one win in their last nine games, as Chris Hughton looks to steer his side away from danger in their debut season in the ​Premier League.


Here's everything you need to know ahead of the game on Saturday. 


Classic Encounter

Newacaslte United v Brighton & Hove Albion: Sky Bet Championship

The last time these two sides came face to face at St James' Park was in the ​Championship at the beginning of the season, as two of the early favourites for the title clashed. 


It was to be the North East side who claimed all three points with an impressive 2-0 win against the Seagulls; ending their unbeaten start to the season in the process. 


Goals from Jamaal Lascelles and Jonjo Shelvey either side of half time ensured Benitez's side continued their good form with their third consecutive win; while Brighton - who played the majority of the second half with 10 men due to Sam Baldock's dismissal - slipped to ninth in the table.


Key Battle


Matt Ritchie vs Pascal Gross

Brighton and Hove Albion v Watford - Premier League

Despite these two not coming in direct opposition for the encounter on Saturday, both teams will rely on their respective creator to help give them the edge come the final whistle. 


While Ritchie operates on the right hand side of midfield for ​Newcastle and Gross usually plays off the main striker, both are heavily influential in their sides attacking play with Ritchie and Gross both registering five assists; although Gross has four goals while Ritchie is yet to score in the Premier League this season. 


Similar in style of play, both like to receive the ball to feet and dribble before looking for that killer pass or cross. Ritchie will look to cut in from the right to either pass or shoot while Gross has the freedom to roam playing as the 'number 10'. 


Both are also adept at taking set-pieces, and in a close game such as this, set-pieces could be crucial. 


Team News

FBL-ENG-PR-WEST HAM-NEWCASTLE

Bentitez looks to be without three first team players for the game on Saturday with Aleksander Mitrovic (back), Jesus Gamez (ankle) and Florian Lejeune (foot) all expected to be out, while Isaac Hayden is pushing for a return to the squad following a knock. 


Brighton meanwhile have a near full-strength lineup for the game at St James' Park with Steve Sidwell (back) the only absentee, while Lewis Dunk and Glenn Murray are a booking away from a one-game suspension. 


Potential Newcastle Starting Lineup: Elliot; Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett; Diame, Merino; Ritchie, Shelvey, Murphy; Gayle


Potential Brighton Starting Lineup: Ryan; Bruno, Duffy, Dunk, Suttner; Stephens, Propper; Knockaert, Gross, Izquierdo; Murray


Prediction


Newcastle have the fourth worst record at home in the league this season, losing six games at St James' Park season - the joint-most alongside ​Swansea.


​Brighton's record on the road this season however isn't much better, losing seven of their 10 games away from the Amex Stadium - the joint-most alongside Swansea also.

Brighton and Hove Albion v Watford - Premier League

With both sides poor respected records and form, don't be surprised to see two timid sides cancel each other out as they look to not lose the game rather than go for the win.


Prediction: Newcastle 1-1 Brighton