Strong start for Seagulls
Last season Brighton finished 16th and managed only nine wins, but this term they are justifying their tag as dark horses for a high finish and are already one-third of the way to that number of wins after just four matches.
The Seagulls’ strong start has put them sixth in the early table with nine points, the same tally as champions Manchester City in fifth.
Graham Potter, now in his third season, has tactical flexibility and could match up against Leicester’s 4-2-3-1 here, having previously played with a back three.
Aaron Connolly has recovered from a muscle injury and Enock Mwepu is also available, while Dan Burn could be involved.
Pascal Gross is continuing to self-isolate due to Covid-19 regulations and Tariq Lamptey and Adam Webster are sidelined with hamstring injuries.
Europa League setback
Leicester have opened their Premier League season with two wins (Wolves at home and Norwich away) and two defeats (West Ham away and Manchester City at home), leaving them ninth in the early table.
Brendan Rodgers’ team started their Europa League campaign on Thursday night with a 2-2 home draw against Napoli but there was a measure of disappointment after they let a two-goal lead slip in the final quarter.
Jonny Evans was substituted at half-time on Thursday with a recurrence of a foot injury and is unlikely to be risked, while Ayoze Perez is suspended.
Leicester’s injury list has shortened, although Wesley Fofana and James Justin are long-term absentees.
Brighton appear to have improved, having won three of their four matches, but their level is still difficult to judge. At the moment it looks as if two of the wins were against potential relegation battlers (Burnley and Watford) and the other was against a mid-table side at best (Brentford).
Leicester are in the higher category of teams likely to be challenging for a European place and it has to be noted that Brighton’s only defeat came against Everton, who are probably among that group as well.
It is also worth noting that in their next most difficult match, away to Brentford last week, Potter’s side were probably fortunate to grab the win right at the end through Leandro Trossard’s 90th minute goal. It was a match of few chances but Brentford had the edge on xG (expected goals).
On the positive side that was a second clean sheet in Brighton’s four games and their high levels of possession are helping to limit opposition chances.
Leicester’s up-and-down results this season are probably a reflection of the strength of opposition. The two defeats came against top-six sides from last season (champions Manchester City and West Ham), while the two wins were against slow-starting Wolves, who were 13th last season, and promoted Norwich, who are still without a point.
Brighton fall between those two types on current form – probably not good enough to stay in the top six but looking better than relegation material – but there are a couple of factors that indicate a good chance for Leicester.
The first is the Foxes’ excellent record against teams below the top eight, with just five defeats out of 24 last season and none from their two games in that category this season (assuming their opponents don’t shift too far from last season’s positions), and the second is Brighton’s low-scoring record (1.05 goals per game last season and only marginally better this time on 1.25).
A lack of goals may hold Brighton back again, if not quite as much as last season judging by their start, and that will make it difficult for them to beat high-class teams like Leicester on a regular basis.
With Leicester more reliable in this type of match-up, they are the pick on draw no bet at 2.0621/20.
The quick turnaround after the Europa League is a factor to consider but Leicester coped well last season, winning five of their seven Premier League games (including four on the road) after Thursday night matches.
These teams were at opposite ends of the goals standings last season and the early signs are that they will follow a similar pattern.
Brighton were joint-sixth for under 2.5 goals last season (55%) and three of their opening four matches have been unders. One team has failed to score in each of those three unders games.
By contrast Leicester were joint-top for over 2.5 goals last season (63%) and they have a 50-50 split so far in the Premier League, plus they shared four goals in Thursday’s Europa League tie against Napoli.
It is worth noting that 15 of Leicester’s 22 Premier League wins since the start of last season came with over 2.5 match goals and that is an option to consider.
Leicester have kept just one clean sheet in their last 10 Premier League games (W4 D1 L5), beating Wolves 1-0 on the opening weekend. Away from home, Leicester are without a clean sheet in nine consecutive league games, though the Foxes have also managed to score in each of these nine games. Both teams to score is available at 1.8810/11.