Steve Bruce kept with five at the back to start this game despite having just one fit center half. Matt Ritchie was back at left wing-back with Manquillo on the right. The back three were Emil Krafth, Federico Fernandez, and Danny Rose.
Newcastle again started well in the first ten minutes with both wing-backs getting high up the pitch. They were able to launch a few crosses into the box though all were well blocked by Brighton defenders.
However, that didn’t last long and Newcastle turned ultra-cautious for the remainder of the first-half rarely venturing into the Brighton end.
Albion won several set-pieces, which will continue to be a concern due to Newcastle’s lack of height at the back. The game became a bit physical with the two sides battling hard; however, both were bereft of any cutting edge in the final third.
Newcastle were content to sit deep with Brighton enjoying the bulk of possession for much of the half. The early jaunts forward by Manquillo and Ritchie were non-existent after the ten-minute mark.
Both sides lacked invention though Newcastle looked very disciplined defensively despite playing with two full-backs at center half. However, they showed very little impetus going forward and let Brighton dictate play. It was shades of the home fixture which ended 0-0.
The Magpies had a few corners to close the first-half ending in a decent opportunity for Dwight Gayle, but his header was just over the bar. It was our only decent chance in the first 45 minutes.
Brighton ended the first half with over 70% of possession, while Newcastle spent much of their time defending, albeit comfortably. Neither side showed much intensity in what has been an unadventurous performance from Newcastle so far.