Wednesday 6 February 2019: 8.05pm KO
Only seven Premier League teams remain in the FA Cup this season. That number could easily become six as struggling Brighton and Hove Albion travel to West Bromwich Albion in this fourth round replay, shown live on BBC television.
What’s more important? Reaching the last sixteen of the FA Cup or improving your chances of staying in the Premier League or being promoted into it? That’s the major question facing these two sides in this FA Cup fourth round replay.
Brighton and Hove Albion are undoubtedly in trouble at present. Their form has left them and the only win this year was at inconsistent Bournemouth in the FA Cup third round. The weekend saw them held to a goalless draw by Watford making it just one win in their last ten league games.
All of a sudden they may be 13th but just five points above the bottom three. The simple fact is they are now in a relegation battle and because of that, this game may have less significance for them. A win over West Bromwich Albion is 6/4 (2.5) at Betfred if you do fancy them getting the win.
West Bromwich Albion also have other things on their mind. Their long stay in the Premier League ended with relegation last season. The weekend saw them lose 3-2 at home to Middlesbrough and that leaves them in fourth place, seven points behind the automatic promotion spots. It’s only three points above seventh place and Albion need to find their form again or they could end up out of the promotion chase.
Only two of their last seven league and cup games have bee won. One of those was the 1-0 home victory over Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup third round. Albion are 7/4 (1.75) at William Hill to win this game.
They will be kicking themselves for losing against Middlesbrough, having had a 2-1 lead with 15 minutes to go. West Brom are the top goal scorers in the Championship but the last five league games have only produced seven goals. They need to get those scoring boots on again.
Head to Head
West Bromwich Albion have only lost one of their last four games against Brighton. Their first ever meeting wasn’t until 1976 in a League Cup tie and that’s the only time they have lost at home to Brighton.
Both teams will make changes for this match. That was the case for the game at the Amex Stadium. In fact, It’s the Championship side who are likely to leave out more regulars including the likes of Jay Rodriguez and Gareth Barry.
Another Bore Draw?
BBC viewers won’t be overjoyed at seeing two weakened teams battling it out on Wednesday evening. It’ll be even worse if there aren’t any goals to cheer them up. The first game between these two sides ended goalless and two of the last three Brighton games have ended 0-0. There are odds of 8/1 (9.0) on this game being a goalless draw.
The last seven home FA Cup games played by West Bromwich Albion has seen them get on the score sheet. It’s 4(1.36) at SportingBet that they score against their Premier League rivals.
2012 at Wrexham was the last time an away Brighton FA Cup tie went to penalties. It’s 2007 for West Brom at home but if you believe this will go all the way (and totally muck up BBC schedules), it’s 5/1 (6.0) that either side win this via a penalty shoot-out.
This might not be a thrilling game on a cold night in the West Midlands. The line-ups for the original game showed that both bosses want to concentrate on their league campaigns. Brighton aren’t in good form and have been sucked into a relegation battle with a vital game against Burnley at the weekend, far more important, a bet on West Brom and under 2.5 goals looks a good one. It’s 9/2 (5.5) at Betway.