Brighton v Swans: The big talking points

23rd February 2018
First team

​​​​​​​Swansea City take on another side looking to pull clear of relegation danger when they go to Brighton this weekend.

Carlos Carvalhal’s men travel to the South Coast in upbeat mood, but will face opponents who like them are in good form.

Here are all the key talking points heading into the game.

 

Another one ticked off

Swans fans will visit a new ground this weekend as their team make a first ever visit to the Amex Stadium, home of Brighton since 2011.

When the two clubs last met in Sussex, Brighton were playing their home games at the Withdean Stadium.

Once the Amex is ticked off this weekend, there will be just nine current grounds in English football’s top four divisions where the Swans have not played a competitive fixture.

They are the Pirelli Stadium (Burton), the New York Stadium (Rotherham), Kingsmeadow (AFC Wimbledon), Highbury Stadium (Fleetwood), the Wham Stadium (Accrington Stanley), Rodney Parade (Newport), the New Lawn (Forest Green), the Globe Arena (Morecambe) and the Hive (Barnet).

 

Mawson to roll on?

Alfie Mawson has started the Swans’ last 51 Premier League games, the longest current run of any player in the competition.

The last time he was not in the XI for a top-flight fixture was way back on December 3, 2016, when Jordi Amat and Mike van der Hoorn began in central defence as Bob Bradley’s Swans were beaten 5-0 at Tottenham.

And despite some concerns earlier in the week, the chances are Mawson’s sequence will not be broken this weekend.

The former Barnsley man had knee trouble in the warm-up before last Saturday’s FA Cup tie at Sheffield Wednesday, but Carlos Carvalhal expects him to be in contention to feature at Brighton.

 

Seagulls on the up

Brighton may be right in the relegation scrap alongside the Swans right now, but they come into this game in good form.

Chris Hughton’s team have not lost in five matches, with three wins and two draws in that run.

Admittedly, two of the victories have been against lower-league opponents – Middlesbrough and Coventry – in the FA Cup, but the Seagulls have built some momentum nevertheless.

Their last three league games have all been against sides in the bottom half, and they have picked up five points.

Draws at Stoke and Southampton sandwiched an impressive 3-1 home victory over West Ham.

Watford, Newcastle and West Brom are the three other sides who have lost in the Premier League at the Amex this season.

Having been beaten by Brighton on their own patch in November, the Swans will be desperate to avoid joining that list on Saturday.

 

Happy memories

The Swans’ last trip to Brighton was a while back, but that does not mean memories of what happened have faded.

It was May 3, 2008, and it was the day Roberto Martinez and his players finally got their hands on the League One trophy.

They had waited a while. There had been two home games before the final-day trip to Brighton at which the Swans felt they should have received their silverware.

But confusion caused by Leeds’ decision to appeal – unsuccessfully – against a 15-point penalty imposed on them meant the trophy presentation was delayed until the last possible moment.

Brighton showed their class by giving the Swans a guard of honour at the Withdean, where Febian Brandy’s late winner ensured Martinez’s men would have been champions even if Leeds had got their points back.

There will be no trophies this weekend, of course, but in this relegation battle, three points are a big prize.

 

Cavalry charge

After six changes at Hillsborough last time out, we can expect another Swans reshuffle this weekend.

Lukasz Fabianski, Federico Fernandez, Sam Clucas, Nathan Dyer and Jordan Ayew will all hope to regain their starting places along with Mawson.

And Carvalhal’s options will be further boosted by the availability of Andy King and Andre Ayew, who could also be in contention to make Carvalhal’s XI.

The two deadline-day signings are both ineligible for FA Cup duty having appeared in this season’s competition for their previous clubs.