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Can Southampton stop Brighton in their tracks? 

James Lassey
CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
842   //    26 Oct 2017, 22:11 IST

West Ham United v Brighton and Hove Albion - Premier League
Brighton have been impressive in the last few weeks

Brighton and Hove Albion head into Sunday's clash full of confidence thanks to their 3-0 victory against West Ham United. The visitors -- Southampton -- will travel to the Amex unbeaten in two and three points could see them move into the top seven.

The Saints have taken eleven points from the six bottom half sides they have played so far, including a draw away to Premier League new-boys Huddersfield. 

A Sofiane Boufal wondergoal dispatched West Brom last week and the Saints face rivals Brighton in a south-coast derby to remember.

The last time the duo met in the top flight of English football was back in 1983 and it ended in a goalless draw. Brighton have only finished victorious once in this fixture's last five meetings (W1 D2 L2).

Brighton's last derby win came the last time they played in 2012. The rejuvenated form of Chris Hughton's side, especially that of poacher Glenn Murray, could bring problems for Mauricio Pellegrino's side.

Can they handle the nerves?

Southampton v Arsenal - Premier League
Southampton v Arsenal - Premier League

The managers have a choice to make. Do they sit deep and hope for a costly mistake by the defence or take the game to their rivals and look to put the game to bed early. 

For Hughton, he has constructed a squad willing to go the distance for each other and his twelfth place side have the work rate to see games out. The creativity and unpredictability of Pascal Groß and Anthony Knockaert could prove to be the difference come the final whistle. 

Groß has been involved in six of Brighton's nine goals, scoring two and assisting four. The talents of Knockaert and record signing Jose Izquierdo will give them the width they so desperately need.

Pellegrino, on the other hand, has formulated a Southampton defence which has proven to be so difficult to break down. They utilise their defensive outlook in a way which can catch teams out on the counter. Take the pace of winger Nathan Redmond and striker Shane Long, the rapid duo can help attack defences at sheer speed. Redmond has created more chances than any other Southampton player (20) but question marks remain over whether the Englishman is clinical enough.

Southampton tough at the back

Southampton v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League
Southampton v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League

The Saints have four Premier League clean sheets this season and with centre-back Virgil Van Dijk amongst the first-team action following the transfer dispute last summer, Brighton chances may come at a premium.

The visitors are yet to beat an opponent by more than one goal and the Seagulls have mustered four goals in their previous two. 

Having goalkeeper Fraser Forster fully fit has helped play an integral part to Southampton's defensive accomplishments and the Englishman could make the desired difference on Sunday. 

Brighton's defence will have to keep tight to striker Manolo Gabbiadini. The Italian has helped muster three of Southampton's eight goals this season and is undoubtedly willing to add to the scoresheet again. 

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James Lassey
CONTRIBUTOR
James is a freelance sport journalist and has been for four years now. He is NCTJ trained and has written for the Daily Star, the Brighton Argus, VAVEL UK and Realsport. He has a profound love for football and his beloved Ipswich Town.
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