Football – England – Championship
Saturday 15th December 2012 – Kickoff: 1500hrs
Brighton and Nottingham Forest level on points in the Championship, face off at the AMEX Stadium on Saturday afternoon with a possible play-off berth at stake if Watford fail to win at Burnley.
The hosts have been solid in the last couple of months with just the one defeat in their last nine Championship matches which was a 0-3 defeat at Crystal Palace but that is no disgrace as The Eagles are absolutely flying at the moment and are in second place in the division, having lost just once at home in this campaign.
Brighton are unbeaten in their last four at home with wins over lowly Peterborough United and Bristol City and points taken against Leeds United and Bolton and their home record stands at a healthy 4-4-2 15/7 with four clean sheets to date. Gus Poyet has built his side around a solid defence and this could be the key against Forest this afternoon.
Brighton also have the necessary artillery to cause Nottingham Forest problems at the business end such as striker Craig Mackail-Smith (10 goals, 1 assist), Will Buckley (5 goals, 4 assists) and Ashley Barnes (4 goals, 2 assists) as well as Stephen Dobbie and Kezenga Lua-Lua. Creativity has been supplied by Liam Bridcutt and Bruno (5 assists apiece0.
Nottingham Forest’s form coming into this match has been a bit up-and-down recently with wins over Sheffield Wednesday, Wolves and Burnley being offset against losses to Millwall, Ipswich Town and Hull City along with draws against Middlesbrough and Leicester City.
Until their trip to Ipswich Town, Nottingham Forest had put together a five match unbeaten run on the road and it’ll be interesting to see how they go at Brighton who are perhaps their closest matched team at the moment and this should be a tight match.
Nottingham Forest’s away record stands at 3-5-2 17/15 and their other defeat was at Leeds at the end of September as the Tricky Trees have been prone to drawing matches on their travels. However, Forest also have some key attacking personnel such as strikers Billy Sharp (6 goals, 2 assists), Dexter Blackstock (5 goals, 2 assists) and Simon Cox (4 goals, 5 assists) although he didn’t feature against Burnley in their last match.
Creativity has been largely supplied by Andy Reid and Dan Harding (3 assists each) and they will certainly have the capacity to cause Brighton some problems.
As I mentioned earlier in the preview, I believe Brighton’s defensive unit hold the key in this one and I’ll back the hosts giving the quarter ball here so if it’s a draw or they lose we only lose half of our stake, but Brighton are also very capable of winning this one albeit by a 1-0 scoreline.
Pick: Brighton AH-0.25 @ 1.71 Bet Victor