Brighton need to secure Premier League safety against Leicester on Saturday, as they’re likely to lose most of their remaining matches.
The Seagulls enter their final 8 games on 34 points, sitting 6 points above the relegation zone, but significant tests await that threaten likely defeats.
Brighton’s final 5 games are all against top 7 sides: Spurs and Manchester United at home, plus Burnley, Liverpool and Manchester City away. To reach those games in acute need of points would not be a good thing.
Brighton’s first three games look more welcome on paper, with Leicester and Huddersfield at home plus Crystal Palace away, before Spurs arrive on April 17.
And that is why beating Leicester this weekend is vital: get Leicester wrong then Huddersfield becomes a problem and Palace is more of a grudge match than many neutrals realise.
Should those first two games garner no more than a point then Palace away would become uncomfortably important. Margins can be tight.
A narrow defeat to Leicester and a draw with Huddersfield would leave Brighton on 35 points with 6 games to go.
Brighton might not do anything desperately wrong in their next two games, yet suddenly have a real problem on their hand.
Palace would like nothing more than to get one over Brighton and drag them closer to the drop zone. Brighton would then enter their horror run-in, where 5 straight defeats is plausible.
Chris Hughton has guided Brighton admirably this season and 37 points is likely to be too high a total for the bottom three to reach, so Brighton would be wise to bag three points this weekend against Leicester.
Fail in their next three games while relegation rivals pick up points and Brighton could yet still plummet slowly into the bottom three come the final day.