Boxing Day at Griffin Park witnesses a top of the table Championship clash between third place Brighton and tenth place Brentford as Chris Hughton’s side look for an immediate response following their first loss of the season.
Brighton are hoping to bounce back from their humiliating home loss to Middlesbrough which ended their unprecedented Championship lossless streak.
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If Brighton get the win, and other results go in their favour, they can potentially return to the top of the Championship.
A Brentford victory could see the side return to the playoff positions in the Championship, if other results go their way. A loss for Brentford would see the side pushed further from the top, with Reading in a position to leapfrog and QPR and Leeds able to draw level on points.
Before the crushing loss to Middlesbrough, Brighton had only managed narrow wins at home. One goal victory margins against Charlton and Birmingham at home, and away draws to QPR, Derby and Burnley, show the Seagulls to be hard to beat, but easy to score against. Brentford will be looking to capitalise on Brighton’s current loss of momentum and inflict a second defeat in a row.
Brighton’s task is made harder by the confirmed absence of Solly March through injury, with Liam Rosenior and Sam Baldock listed as doubtful. Lewis Dunk is also unavailable, due to suspension.
Brentford are coming off the back of an emphatic 4-2 home win against Huddersfield, albeit with two goals coming from Alan Judge penalty kicks. Judge is set to start behind lone striker Lasse Vibe in Brentford’s preferred 4-2-3-1 system.
Brentford’s hopes are boosted by the fact they have managed to win five of their last six home contests, while Brighton have managed to draw five away contests in a row.
One of the keys to Brighton’s first loss of the season was the fourth minute goal by Middlesbrough’s Kike. Brentford boss Dean Smith will be hoping his team can grab an early goal and put the pressure on the visitors.
Brentford have scored consistently as of late, with The Bees netting at least twice in their last four Championship games, while the visitors have managed to concede at least twice over their last four Championship matches. The potential is definitely there for a late Christmas present for the West London home side.
If Brighton manage an away win, however, it will send a strong signal to the Championship that the Seagulls are still a force to be reckoned with in the new year.
It should prove to be an interesting contest with Brighton hoping that their defeat to Middlesbrough was a one off – it gets the Boxing Day fixtures from the Championship off to a flyer.