Brentford-Brighton & Hove Albion Preview
Brighton and Hove Albion head coach Graham Potter praised his side's professionalism in response to the COVID-19 postponements ahead of their clash with Brentford.
The Seagulls are on a club-record 11-game winless run in the league, having last gone down 1-0 to Wolves before COVID-19 affected Brighton's schedule.
Indeed, Potter's side have not played since December 15, but the English coach has been pleased with the Seagulls' attitude amid the continued coronavirus disruptions.
"You don't want to be the Premier League team that starts to complain too much about the situation we find ourselves in," he said.
"But at the same time the players are human beings. We had a pre-season game where we had to have three team meetings because we lost players in the build-up.
"You start to think 'when will this stop?' and you wonder if you might be sending players out who are Covid-positive.
"It hasn't been easy, but the guys have been really professional and as focussed as I can expect them to be as a coach and a human being. We will try our best against Brentford and we're looking forward to the game."
Brentford have also suffered similar disruptions as they sit 12th in the league, nine points clear of the drop zone, but were downed 2-0 by Chelsea in the EFL Cup quarter-final.
But Bees head coach Thomas Frank believes the loss against the Blues will have been beneficial.
"I think the game was very important for us to get up to speed," said Frank.
"After six days where we couldn't train - yes they were running but it's not the same - you saw the impact of that when training (resumed).
"They got through it because it was only six days but now the system just got that boost and they will be ready to go on Boxing Day."
Brighton and Hove Albion - Neal Maupay
Neal Maupay is Brighton's highest scorer in the Premier League this season with six goals. He's had three occasions where he's scored in consecutive appearances this term, last scoring in three games in a row in October 2020.
Brentford - Ivan Toney
Frank hinted of a return for Ivan Toney, who has been absent following a positive COVID-19 test. The striker has scored four times for the Bees in the league this term, one more than any other player.
- Brentford have won two of their last three away league games against Brighton (L1), more than they had in their previous 12 visits (W1 D4 L7). This is their first league game at the Amex since a 2-0 win in September 2016.
- Brighton have lost just one of their last 12 Premier League games against promoted sides (W5 D6), going down 1-0 at West Brom in February. The Seagulls have conceded just four goals in these games, keeping a clean sheet in seven of their last eight.
- Brighton are winless in their last 11 Boxing Day league games (D4 L7) since beating QPR 1-0 in 2005-06. It's the longest ongoing run without a Boxing Day league win of any side in the top four tiers of English football.
- Brentford have lost just one of their last 12 Boxing Day league games (W7 D4), losing 4-2 at home to Ipswich in 2014-15. The Bees have never lost on this day in the top-flight (W2 D1), with this their first such game since a 2-1 win over Sheffield United in 1946.
- Excluding 1992-93, just three teams have won a Premier League game on Boxing Day in their maiden campaign in the competition (D7 L11) - Sunderland in 1996-97, Portsmouth in 2003-04 and Wigan Athletic in 2005-06.
Updated December 23, 2021