West Ham United continue their quest for a top-six Premier League finish on the East Sussex coast on Saturday at 8pm.
Brighton & Hove Albion welcome the Hammers to the Amex Stadium for the Londoners' 36th of 38 top-flight matches in 2020/21, with David Moyes' side seeking to bounce back after losing 1-0 at home to Everton on Sunday afternoon.
Thursday's results saw West Ham drop to sixth in the table, below Liverpool, and three points are almost a must when the Irons take on the Seagulls.
Brighton themselves can relax after midweek defeats for West Bromwich Albion and Fulham saw both relegated and Graham Potter's side safe on 37 points. However, the home manager will want his team to return to winning ways after squandering a lead in losing 2-1 at Wolverhampton Wanderers last weekend.
For the final time before fans return to Premier League grounds, COVID-19 restrictions mean Saturday's game will be played without supporters present.
The match will be shown live in the UK by Sky Sports and across the world by the Premier League’s international broadcast partners, meaning our fans will be able to follow the action, safely, from home. Click here to see where you can watch the game in your territory.
West Ham United boss David Moyes was remaining tight-lipped on the status of his injured players when questioned on team news in his pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon.
He will be hopeful over Declan Rice's fitness as he works his way back from the knee injury he suffered while playing for England against Poland at the end of March.
Angelo Ogbonna will also hope to return to the team after being an unused substitute for last Saturday's home defeat by Everton. Mark Noble, who missed the Everton game with a calf strain, will also hope to be involved.
Defender Aaron Cresswell was forced off in the second half of that game with a dead leg, but hopes to be fit, while Manuel Lanzini was forced off with a groin injury in the first half against the Toffees.
And finally, Arthur Masuaku has been working hard on his fitness. The DR Congo international underwent knee surgery before Christmas.
Brighton & Hove Albion have a number of confirmed absentees. Centre-back Lewis Dunk and striker Neal Maupay are both suspended after being sent-off at Molineux last weekend.
Full-back Tariq Lamptey (thigh) and winger Solly March (knee) are both ruled out for the remainder of the season, but the news is brighter about midfielder Adam Lallana and defender Joel Veltman, who could return from their respective calf injuries to face the Hammers.
The opposition – Brighton & Hove Albion
The common consensus is that Brighton & Hove Albion have not got the points return their performances have warranted so far this season.
One look at the Premier League xG (expected goals) table shows the Seagulls have created chances good enough to have scored 51.47 goals this season, when in reality they have netted just 36. At the other end, Brighton's xG conceded is 36.14, but in reality they have let in 41.
Amazingly, Brighton's xPTS (expected points) would have them on 58.64, six MORE than West Ham United, whose xPTS is 52.40.
Of course, though, football is played on grass rather than on computers and in real life Brighton have 37 points, while West Ham have 58.
That said, Brighton are playing a brand of football that creates a lot of decent chances and if they put more of them away, they would not have spent the whole season looking over their shoulders at the relegation zone.
Graham Potter’s side rank eighth in shots per game (12.9) and tenth in possession (50.6%). However, that ability to keep the ball and create chances has not translate into enough goals, with Brighton scoring just over a goal per game on average.
Defensively, Brighton ranked seventh in tackles per game (16.7) and sixth in interceptions (10.4), while Brighton goalkeepers have made just 76 saves this season - third lowest in the Premier League behind Manchester City and Chelsea - but again those numbers have not been converted into results.
Now the threat of relegation has passed, perhaps the Seagulls will be rewarded for their evidently progressive play in the final week of the season? West Ham United supporters will hope not!
West Ham United and Brighton & Hove Albion meet in the Premier League for just the eighth time on Saturday evening.
The Hammers are still seeking their first Premier League win over the Seagulls, having lost the first three meetings and drawn the last four, with all seven matches taking place over the previous four seasons.
The most-recent meeting ended in a 2-2 draw at London Stadium on 27 December, when Ben Johnson and Tomáš Souček were on target for the Hammers, cancelling out goals from Lewis Dunk and Neal Maupay for the visitors.
West Ham's last visit to the Amex was way back in August 2019. Chicharito's final West Ham goal put the Hammers in front on 61 minutes, only for Leandro Trossard to level for the Seagulls four minutes later.
David Moyes has faced Brighton just three times in his long managerial career, and is also still seeking his first victory. The first occasion was in February 2018, when the Seagulls ran out 3-1 winners at the Amex Stadium, and the second in February 2020, which ended 3-3 at London Stadium.
West Ham's last win over Brighton came in April 2012, when a Ricardo Vaz Te hat-trick saw off the Seagulls 6-0 at the Boleyn Ground. Current first-team coach Kevin Nolan scored the winner in the reverse fixture at the Amex in October 2011.
By the numbers
11 Alec George Foreman scored in an incredible eleven straight fixtures against Brighton & Hove Albion during the Second World War. Born in Walthamstow, centre-forward Foreman made just nine competitive appearances for the Hammers, six in the Second Division in 1938/39 and three in the FA Cup in 1945/46, but his most-prolific seasons came during the War. Foreman scored 186 goals in 225 war-time outings, including 17 in eleven appearances against the Seagulls.
6-0 Ricardo Vaz Te (pictured) scored his only hat-trick for West Ham United in a 6-0 Championship victory over Brighton & Hove Albion at the Boleyn Ground in April 2012. Kevin Nolan, Carlton Cole and a Gary Dicker own-goal secured the Hammers’ biggest-ever competitive win over the Seagulls.
4 Charles Satterthwaite scored four of West Ham United’s five goals in a 5-0 Southern League Division One win over Brighton & Hove Albion in February 1904 – making him the only player to do so for the Hammers in a game against the Seagulls. Satterthwaite also scored in each of the first two meetings between the two clubs – a 3-2 Brighton win in October 1903 and 4-0 FA Cup third qualifying round win at the Memorial Grounds a fortnight later.
1910 Penalty-taking goalkeeper George Kitchen scored one spot-kick and missed a second in West Ham United’s 3-1 Southern League First Division win over Brighton & Hove Albion at the Boleyn Ground on 5 November 1910.
1 Frank Lampard was sent-off for the one time in his 670-game West Ham United career in the Hammers’ 3-1 First Division defeat by Brighton & Hove Albion at the Goldstone Ground in October 1982. Brighton started the season well, but ended it bottom of the table and relegated, as well as beaten FA Cup finalists, while the Hammers finished eighth.
2020 Tomáš Souček made his West Ham United debut in the 3-3 Premier League draw with Brighton & Hove Albion at London Stadium on 1 February 2020. He is one of eight players to have made their Hammers bow against the Seagulls, with the others being Jordan Hugill, Luis Boa Morte, Francois Van der Elst, William Kennedy, Dan Woodards, James Jackson and Fred Brunton.
24 The following 24 players have been on the books of both West Ham United and Brighton & Hove Albion: Sam Baldock, Wayne Bridge, Dennis Burnett, Greg Campbell, Sebastien Carole, Alan Curbishley, Brian Dear, Tommy Dixon, Almeric Hall, Samuel Jennings, Paul Kitson, Bertie Lutton, Tommy McAteer, Keith McPherson, Harry Medhurst, George Parris, Dave Sexton, Mike Small, Sam Small, Tony Stokes, Mauricio Taricco, Matthew Upson, Len Young and Bobby Zamora.
Referee: Andre Marriner
Assistant Referees: Scott Ledger and Simon Long
Fourth Official: Simon Hooper
VAR: Paul Tierney
Assistant VAR: Andrew Halliday
Affiliated to the Birmingham County FA, Andre Marriner began refereeing at the age of 21 in 1992, progressing through the Birmingham Amateur Football League and the Southern Football League to become a Football League assistant referee in 2000.
Marriner was appointed to the Football League list of referees in 2003, before making his Premier League debut in November of the following year, in Charlton Athletic’s 4-0 win over Norwich City at The Valley.
The 50-year-old was added to the Select Group of professional referees in 2005, and FIFA’s list of international officials in 2009.
Marriner has refereed a host of high-profile fixtures, including the 2010 Championship Play-Off final and the 2013 FA Cup final, sending-off Manchester City’s future Hammer Pablo Zabaleta in the latter!
He kicked-off the current season by refereeing Arsenal's Community Shield win over Liverpool at Wembley.
Marriner has taken charge of West Ham United fixtures on 39 previous occasions, the first of which was a 3-2 home Championship win over Nottingham Forest on Boxing Day 2004, and the last of which was the 3-1 home Premier League defeat by Manchester United in December last year.