Nottingham Forest specialised in keeping it tight on their travels last time around, conceding a joint-league low 21 away goals, but their 18 strikes beat the division’s worst total by just one.
Finding the net was a consistent problem throughout the previous campaign – only the three teams relegated from the Championship scored fewer – but a four-goal flurry on the opening day indicates things may be about to change under Philippe Montanier.
The Tricky Trees felled local foes Burton Albion 4-3 on the opening day, with Britt Assombalonga bagging a brace. It was a welcome return to the starting XI for the former Peterborough United striker, who missed the majority of 2015/16 with a serious knee injury.
Having their top marksman back fit again may have been the motivation behind Forest’s decision to only add one striker to the ranks this summer so far and his presence means they’ll pose Brighton and Hove Albion another stern challenge at the AMEX Stadium.
The Seagulls scraped a 1-0 win when the sides last collided on the south coast, in what was the opening match of last season. The result laid the foundations for Brighton to embark on a Championship undefeated streak that stretched 21 games.
However, too many draws in this sequence ultimately cost them automatic promotion – indeed, had they won one more match across this invincible period, they would’ve pipped Middlesbrough to second place – but at home they were especially consistent.
The Forest win proved to be the first of eight from their opening ten in front of the faithful, all of which were recorded courtesy of a one-goal winning margin.
It’s 13/10 that the same deficit divides the teams here, but as strong as Brighton are, a stalemate looks as good a bet.
Forest were reliable on the road last term and picked up eight away points from 12 after narrowly losing at the AMEX just over a year ago.
Brighton’s goalless draw at Derby County last weekend suggests the beaten play-off semi-finalists are going to be just as tough to topple this term, but only one team tied more second-tier matches than Hughton’s troops in 15/16 and the visitors’ reinvigorated attack will cause them problems here.
All bar one of the duo’s last ten Championship tussles have ended either honours even or were settled by a one-goal margin.
The draw is on offer at 12/5, but for those intent on backing a winner, the hosts are 4/5 favourites and it’s 333/100 about a Forest victory.