There’s still a long way to go in this Championship campaign, but there’s every reason to believe that the winner of Tuesday night’s clash between Brighton & Hove Albion and Newcastle United will go on to lift the trophy in May.
Both sides are enjoying a fine run of form right now, with this week’s hosts winning 10 of their last 14 league games, while the Magpies’ unbeaten run in the division stretches back to January 2.
As things stand, only a point separates the pair at the top of the table, with the Seagull’s on 71 points, while a draw yesterday with Bristol City meant Rafa Benitez’s men fell to second-place.
Of course, those odds are likely to changes substantially depending on the outcome of Tuesday’s game, where Chris Hughton’s side will kick-off as 6/4 favourites to nick all three points.
And for all Newcastle’s strengths, it’s easy to see why they head into this one as slight outsiders at 19/10. That’s because Brighton don’t lose league games at the Amex Stadium all too often. In fact, only Brentford have taken all three points from the East Sussex outfit since January last year.
Should Newcastle buck that trend though, it’s hard to see them being leapfrogged again this season. However, were Brighton to grab all three points, that’d stretch their lead at the top to four, and given Newcastle’s upcoming fixtures, Benitez’s men would suddenly have it all to do if they were to secure top-spot.
Indeed, this is just one of three consecutive away fixtures for the Magpies against sides in the top five, with trips to Huddersfield Town and Reading awaiting Jonjo Shelvey and co.
Defeat for the visitors on Tuesday would mean they’d be heading into the aforementioned fixtures extremely low on confidence, and that’s something Brighton can take advantage of, as they’ll meet Nottingham Forest and Rotherham United in their next two matches – both of which would be considered winnable.
They’ve been neck-and-neck all season, but that looks set to change this week, with one of the Championship’s leading two teams looking to force a gap between themselves and their title-chasing rivals.
Can Brighton stretch the gap, or will their heavyweight opponents re-establish themselves?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing