Sheffield Wednesday v Brighton - Saturday 15:00
Brighton will be hoping for more luck than they experienced on their last visit to Hillsborough. Five months ago, the Seagulls, already deprived of Lewis Dunk and Dale Stephens through suspension, were forced to make all three substitutions within a ten-minute period either side of half-time and then lost Anthony Knockaert, playing the final 30 minutes with ten men.
Stephens misses out again, after picking up two yellow cards at Ipswich in midweek, and his long-standing partner Beram Kayal is also sidelined by an ankle injury, which is likely to negate Chris Hughton’s ambitions but Albion are well-stocked in that department nowadays and central midfield axis of Oliver Norwood and Steve Sidwell is more than capable of doing a job.
Last season, Brighton drew 12 of their 23 away games, including all five against the rest of the top six, and they’ve started this campaign in a similar vein, finishing level in three out of six. Given the adjustments, though, under 1.5 goals looks a stronger bet than the stalemate at 23/10. Based on the respective shot data, I make it no bigger than 17/10.
Last season, Wednesday were unable to beat any of the top six (seven draws, three defeats) and Carlos Carvalhal will be using that as a yardstick to judge their progress. The Owls might well set-up to nick this 1-0, following the blueprint set on the opening weekend against Aston Villa, but the smart money is on Albion holding firm. Back no goalscorer at 9/1.