Brighton have made a disappointing start to the new campaign, with the last minute Elland Road loss followed by a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Football League newcomers Newport County at the Amex.
The Tuesday night defeat was the first League Cup tie in 26 years for the Welsh outfit, but the game will be remembered, unfortunately, for the serious injury to Newport County’s Byron Anthony – for which the Seagulls’ Spanish defender Inigo Calderon was, harshly, sent from the field. That red card was the turning points as the hosts had been well on top until this point.
Brighton boss Oscar Garcia was adamant in his post-match press conference that Calderon had been unlucky with the decision, a feeling which was substantiated by the video replays.
“I know Calde,” said Garcia. “He went to the ball and it was a 50-50 challenge; it was unlucky for the Newport player. We have seen the video and we can see the action of Calde was legal… we had many, many chances to win the game.”
Brighton host Derby at the Amex this weekend and are even money at BetVictor to record their first win of the season. Their home record last season was excellent, losing only three of 23 home games and I think the midweek loss was just a blip although, not for the first time in recent seasons, they failed to convert their superiority into goals.
The Rams struggled on the road last term and, although they played well enough in their 1-1 draw against Blackburn Rovers at Pride Park on Sunday, they are vulnerable on their travels and I confidently expect the Seagulls to take all three points.
The Rams are 3/1 to take the points back to Derbyshire with the draw at 5/2.
‘José’ Ulloa was on target at Elland Road on the opening day and the Argentinian striker is 17/4 to grab the opener and 11/8 to score at any time during the 90 minutes.
In the continued absence of Craig Mackail-Smith, Ulloa is now 8/13 to be the club’s leading scorer in the Championship, with the Scottish international out to 4s. Ashley Barnes is 12s, and Will Buckley and Will Hoskins at 14s.
Brighton are out to 25s for the title but remain 6/1 for promotion and 5/2 for a top six finish, although they have drifted out to 33/1 in the season-long handicap given they receive a six-point start from scratch side QPR, who have won both games so far this term but face a tricky looking game at Huddersfield this weekend.
QPR have shortened from 5s into 4s for the title and Harry Redknapp’s rebuilding process does seem to be taking shape, with many of the big wage earners sold or out on loan, though the R’s are paying a percentage of the wages for those out on a season’s loan.
Brighton are in the bet of the week with a treble the recommendation: on Brighton (Evens), Sheffield Wednesday (5/4 Home to Burnley) and Peterborough (13/10 Away at Notts County).
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