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Cherries the pick in battle with Brighton

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Bournemouth have made a shocking start to the season but Cherries coach Eddie Howe is promising a "back to basics" approach against Brighton and those elusive first points of the season could come in a victory at Dean Court.

Quotes of slightly odds-against suggest there is little between the two south-coast clubs once home advantage is factored in, and it could be worth disputing that opinion.

The key to this is whether Bournemouth's bad start is just a blip or a serious decline after last season's ninth-place finish. If they can get anywhere near the levels of 2016-17 the Cherries should be capable of overcoming the promoted visitors.

Howe's men have started slowly, although it was the same story last season when they had only three wins in their opening 11 games. After five matches Bournemouth had collected four points with the solitary success coming in a 1-0 home victory over West Brom.

This time around Bournemouth have lost away to Albion and also suffered defeats to Watford, Manchester City and Arsenal.

City and Arsenal are elite clubs who would always provide stiff opposition and Watford are improving rapidly, so this match offers Howe his easiest chance to claim maximum points so far.

Howe wants Bournemouth to do the simple things right and if they can eliminate errors there should be chances for Josh King and Jermain Defoe to help them to climb the table.

Brighton can be reasonably satisfied with their start, which has seen them collecting four points from as many matches.

They were always going to find it tough against City and deservedly lost 2-0 before going down by the same score at Leicester.

Chris Hughton's men were helped by an early red card to Miguel Britos in their goalless draw at Watford but savoured their first Premier League victory in last week's 3-1 win over West Brom.

However, the Seagulls had an expected goals figure of just 0.4 last time out and that should be concerning for Hughton as it suggests a lack of creativity, and it followed three straight matches without a goal.

Pascal Gross grabbed two against WBA and Tomer Hemed also bagged but Brighton have left themselves short of attacking options after missing out on several targets in the transfer window, including being turned down by Vincent Janssen at the last minute.

Expect Brighton to be in for a forward when the window reopens in January, while in a couple of weeks there will be a greater goal threat from midfield when new recruits Izzy Brown and Jose Izquierdo are up to speed.

Izquierdo, who scored 14 league goals from the left wing for Club Brugge last term, is short of match fitness and Brighton's lack of firepower makes Bournemouth the bet.


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Match in Focus

19:30 Fr 15Dec BT1

Mgladbach v Hamburg

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • Hamburg have lost five of their last six away games.
Expert verdict
Hamburg have collected just four points on their travels this season (three of them against tailed of basement boys Cologne) and are unlikely to trouble Borussia Moenchengladbach at Borussia Park. Gladbach are on a three-game winless run but are still in the thick of the battle for a top four finish.