Steven Schumacher has made an unbeaten start to life as Stoke manager as his new side have won one and drawn three of their last four matches, including a goalless stalemate with 10 men against promotion hopefuls Ipswich Town on New Year’s Day.
Jordan Thompson was given an “unnecessary” red card in the view of Schumacher for dissent midway through the second half, but the Potters held their own a man down against the Tractor Boys to pick up a valuable point in their quest to steer themselves clear of the relegation zone.
Stoke remain 19th in the Championship table and sit seven points clear of the bottom three, but before they prepare for two favourable-looking league fixtures against struggling duo Rotherham United and Birmingham City, the Potters must turn their attention to the FA Cup where they will attempt to progress from the third round for the third successive season.
Schumacher will be keen to address his side’s home form as they have only won two of their last 11 matches at the bet365 Stadium, drawing a blank in front of goal on seven of those occasions.
The prospect of success on Saturday seems slim, though, as Stoke have lost their last eight FA Cup games against Premier League opposition, while they have also failed to win any of their previous three meetings with Brighton.
After ending 2023 on an impressive high with a 4-2 home victory over Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League, Brighton were forced to settle for just a point in a goalless draw with West Ham United on Tuesday.Although the
Seagulls were thwarted on numerous occasions by a defiant Alphonse Areola between the sticks, they managed to keep their first clean sheet in the league this season at the 20th time of asking.
Roberto De Zerbi’s side have failed to score in two of their last four matches, having drawn a blank in just one of their previous 44 games prior to this. Nevertheless, a point claimed at the London Stadium has helped them climb to seventh in the Premier League table, and they remain just three points behind West Ham in sixth.
After crashing out in the EFL Cup third round to Chelsea earlier this season, Brighton will be keen to avoid another early cup exit this weekend, and their recent record in the FA Cup bodes well ahead of Saturday’s fixture as they have only lost one of their last seven ties at this stage of the competition.
The Seagulls, who reached the FA Cup semi-finals last season, have largely struggled when visiting Stoke, though, as they have won just one, drawn eight and lost nine of their last 18 matches at the bet365 Stadium, although that solitary win was the aforementioned 1-0 success in the FA Cup fifth round in February last year