What on earth has happened to Brighton and Hove Albion and Blackpool? Very much the early pacesetters, both began the Championship season like steam-trains and their promotion prospects were being talked up by punters far and wide.
But what a difference a couple of months makes. With November fast approaching, the league is starting to take shape and unless they both start to turn their form around they will find themselves a long way behind the leaders.
Ian Holloway’s men have always been all about attacking and no matter how many the opposition score, they fancy their chances of scoring more. Unfortunately for the Tangerines, in recent weeks they have been leaking goals in their usual fashion but unlike earlier in the campaign, they are struggling to find the back of the net.
Blackpool have lost four of their last six Championship fixtures, conceding 13 goals in the process – hardly the form of a side looking to get back into the top flight.
In addition to these damning stats, the Seasiders have not tasted victory on their own patch since way back on September 18th, when they thumped Middlesbrough 4-1.
At that moment they were sitting second in the table, only a point off top spot and possessing the greatest goal difference in the division. Today, they find themselves in 11th place and eight points adrift of high-flying Leicester City.
Given their current form, it may seem strange that Blackpool are actually 23/20 favourites for their upcoming fixture against Brighton at Bloomfield Road. However, a closer look at the Seagulls’ recent fortunes provides a partial explanation for this price.
Gus Poyet was being hailed as the next big thing when his Brighton side were playing some terrific football and passing the opposition off the park, but similarly to Blackpool, their form has momentously deserted them.
From their final fixture in August, the Sussex side won five on the bounce, including three very impressive away successes, and looked like a side destined to cement a place in and around the automatic promotion spots for the foreseeable future.
But the Championship never ceases to amaze, because that tremendous spell has been followed by a run of five matches without recording a win. As a result, Brighton are 9/4 outsiders for Saturday’s clash between these two out-of-form sides.
Possibly worse than the run of games without picking up a win is the fact that Poyet’s men have somehow gone from scoring 14 goals in their five consecutive victories to a menial one in their last five.
So we have a fixture where one side cannot find the back of the net for love nor money and the other possesses a defence which gives off the impression that it actually enjoys conceding goals. Odds of 5/1 are on offer for punters who fancy a scoreless affair.
Although I do predict a low-scoring match, I cannot really see it ending goalless and as a result, my tip is for there to be under 2.5 goals scored, which is priced at a tasty-looking 91/100.
It is hard to make a case for either side, so I may be sitting on the fence on this one slightly, but the draw at 9/4 looks to be the best longer-priced option in what could prove to be a nervy Bloomfield Road affair.