Home Start Could Be Key For Albion’s Survival Hopes

Starting their inaugural campaign with a home fixture would be great news for Chris Hughton’s Premier League new boys. Fans of many clubs will be highly anticipating the 9am release of the 2017/18 Premier League Fixtures tomorrow.

 

Ideally for Brighton – a home fixture to mark the first ever Premier League game in the Seagulls’ 116 year history would be fantastic. Not only will it be great motivation for the players standing in front of a packed AMEX, it could be a great foundation for a good early run of form for the Seagulls.

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Bruno will be the first ever Brighton player to captain the Seagulls in the Premier League.

Many people are hoping for a fixture against a big side like Manchester United. This would be amazing, but then again, it would almost certainly result in a loss. Personally, I would prefer a fixture at home to the likes of Swansea, Watford or Bournemouth.

Brighton were humbled 4-0 at the hands of Arsenal the last time they got promoted to the top flight back in 1979.

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The Brighton side that played in their first season in the first division in the 1979/80 season. Credit: Seagulls TV

A win against a side who are also likely to be battling against relegation would be monumental for the campaign.

Whoever Brighton are pitted up against, lets remember the hard work that has got us to the Premier League. Get behind the team win, lose or draw.

By George Carden

A Fantastic Year for South Coast Football

 

It has been a year of great achievement on the south coast of England. Ahead of the promotion parade on Sunday – we take a look at the other teams coastal teams and their achievements.

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Portsmouth players celebrate the League 2 Title.

Former Premier League regulars, Portsmouth, upset the odds by pipping Doncaster and Plymouth to the League 2 title on the final day. Paul Cook’s side were sitting in third with 84 points and emphatically beat Cheltenham 6-1 to claim the title.

It is the start of the club’s rebuilding job after the Pompey Supporters Trust saved the club from liquidation and bought them in 2013.

 


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Plymouth celebrate promotion to League 1.

Meanwhile, Plymouth had the League 2 title snatched from their clutches after being top of the league with 86 points. Derek Adams side will find consolidation however – The Pilgrims were confined to League 2 since 2011.

 


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Nathan Redmond celebrates goal against Watford.

 

Southampton had another respectable season under new manager, Claude Puel. In the Premier League, they are guaranteed to finish slightly lower than last years 6th placed finish. However, they can still finish as high as 8th.

The Saints had a disappointing Europa League campaign – Puel’s side finished 3rd in their group with 8 points. They were narrowly pipped by Israeli side, Hapoel Beer-Sheva FC. Southampton lost 5-0 to Arsenal in the round of 32 in the FA Cup.

 


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Callum Wilson scores for Bournemouth.

Bournemouth ensured a third season of Premier League football. Eddie Howe’s side sit in 11th place with 42 points. They can finish as high as 8th and as low as 16th depending on the last two games of the season. Only ten points separate 8th from 17th this season.

The Cherries had a disappointing FA Cup run. They lost 3-0 to Millwall in the round of 32. The 2016-17 season has been a year of improvement and consolidation compared to last years 16th placed finish.

 


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Brighton players celebrate promotion on April 17.

Brighton achieved promotion to the top flight after a 34 year wait. It also marked 20 years after being kicked out of the Goldstone and the great escape to maintain their Football League status. Since then, the club have been in three different homes and played in League 2, League 1 and the Championship.

Chris Hughton’s side were five minutes away from their first ever Championship title but were denied by a Jack Grealish equaliser. However it was a fantastic season for the Seagulls and there is a lot of anticipation around the club ahead of their first season in the Premier League.


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Exeter City finished 4th on 71 points in League 2.  Paul Tisdale’s side are preparing for their first leg play off match against Carlisle United. Their second leg is 4 days later on the 18th. Good luck Exeter!


 

It has been a great year for South Coast football, with three promotions and potentially 4 by the 18th May. Meanwhile, Southampton and Bournemouth can be satisfied with their Premier League campaigns. The 2017/18 season will be interesting, with Brighton, Bournemouth and Southampton fighting it out in the Premier League – who would have predicted that all the way back in 2010/11?

Article by George Carden

20 Years Ago, 90 League Positions Separated Newcastle and Brighton

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Hereford vs Brighton 1997 – Credit: http://www.wearebrighton.com

20 years ago, Brighton were languishing in the depths of the fourth tier of English Football. A famous match against Hereford United and subsequent equaliser from Robbie Reinelt ensured Brighton and Hove Albion’s safety. Meanwhile at the opposite end of the footballing pyramid, a Newcastle side led by Kevin Keegan, were gunning for the First Division title. They were pushed aside, 7 points behind a famous Manchester United side. 20 years ago, 90 league positions separated Brighton and Newcastle. Now it is just one.

It is amazing how much times have changed in 20 years. A club of Newcastle’s size shouldn’t be anywhere near the Championship. Brighton, who have spent a measly 4 years of their 116 year history in the top flight deserve this chance.

What do Brighton need to get promoted today?

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If Brighton beat Wigan today, Huddersfield have to find victory against Derby. Brighton can also draw but that would require Huddersfield to lose to Derby. A draw would leave Hughton’s side on 90 points with a +36 goal difference. If Huddersfield lose, the maximum they can acquire is 89 points with +5 goal difference.

The magic number for Brighton is 93 points (4 more points) which is a win and a draw. That will guarantee promotion to the Premier League even if Huddersfield were to win their last five games (leaving them on 92 points).

After that, it is between Brighton and Newcastle to battle it out for the title. However, both sets of supporters will find relief in having guaranteed promotion sealed first.

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It is surreal that 20 years of fighting, to save the club from relegation to the fifth tier of English football, to fight for planning permission for the AMEX, to comeback from back-to-back play off disappointments year after year, it has all boiled down to this day. This is the best time to be a Brighton fan. Let’s enjoy it.

Article by George Carden
Contact:
georgecarden99@gmail.com
Twitter: @George_Carden

Albion December Round Up

Brighton remained unbeaten throughout December. The Seagulls haven’t lost a league game in 104 days. The last league defeat they suffered was against Brentford all the way back in September. In that time, they have kept 11 clean sheets in 18 matches and scored 33 goals. Here is everything that happened for Brighton over the festive period.


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Brighton travelled up to a Cardiff side who hadn’t yet found their feet this season. It was newly appointed assistant-manager Paul Trollope’s first return to the Welsh side since his sacking in October. The game finished 0-0 and the only notable incident was Gaetan Bong receiving a second yellow and being banned for the Leeds game.

Six days later, Brighton hosted Leeds in what looked to be a tough fixture. Kalvin Phillips denied a certain goal from Lewis Dunk by blocking the ball with his hand. The defender was given a straight red. The resulting penalty was scored by Glenn Murray. Brighton sealed the game with eight minutes to go. Dunk was fouled in the box and Hemed stepped up to coolly dispatch the penalty. That was the Israeli international’s fifth goal in four games against Leeds.

Albion faced Blackburn on the 13th of December. It was a night for returning defenders. Signed from Blackburn in the summer, Shane Duffy scored a header to open the scoring whilst ex-Seagulls skipper, Gordon Greer, received a second yellow for a rash tackle on Glenn Murray. Brighton ended up winning 3-2 with Dale Stephens and Glenn Murray grabbing the goals. Sam Gallagher made the affair seem closer with a last minute consolation.

Brighton then travelled up to Birmingham on 17th December. The Seagulls went 1-0 down through a Jutkiewicz header. However, thanks to Solly March causing havoc on the Blues defence, Brighton were able to make it 1-1 thanks to a driven shot from Anthony Knockaert. It was his first goal since his fathers passing. Knockaert was also the man to deliver the corner for Murray’s 94th minute winner.

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Image courtesy of: zimbio.com



Brighton also faced QPR on 27th December. The Seagulls didn’t cover themselves in glory. However, thanks to a Sam Baldock screamer, they took the lead early. Murray and Knockaert capped off a straightforward win for Hughton’s side.

On the 30th December, we were unfortunate to see the first ever game postponed at the Amex. Brighton were set to play Cardiff for the second match between the two, however due to thick fog, the match had to be cancelled.

Brighton players walk across the pitch before the game is called off due to thick fog and low visibility before the Sky Bet Championship match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Cardiff City at the Amex Stadium, Brighton on 30th December 2016
Image courtesy of: brunchnews.com

 

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Chris Hughton was awarded manager of the month for December after remaining unbeaten and picking up 13 points out of a possible 15. Brighton also ended 2016 top of the league!

Let’s hope January is just as successful for Brighton!

Article by George Carden

The Importance of Glenn Murray

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The striker scored a superb goal on Saturday after collecting the ball faced away from goal, wrong-footing the defender, drawing the keeper out and slotting it home with his weaker foot.

Glenn Murray, the player who led Brighton’s League One promotion charge in 2010/11 with 22 goals, is now leading the charge for the Seagulls’ second attempt at automatic promotion from last season.

The Cumbrian-born striker has acquired 6 goals in 10 starts this season and doesn’t look like slowing down. His reign of goalscoring form is no surprise, he managed 4 goals in his first 6 games for the Seagulls after joining from Rochdale in the 2007/08 season. A natural goal scorer.

He was awarded MOTM on Saturday, his second of the season. Brighton fans will be hoping he can repeat his performance tonight against a solid Wolves side.

Whatever happens this season, we all know Glenn Murray will be one of the most crucial parts of the difference between play-offs and top two.

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Image courtesy of: Reuters

 


Style of play

Fellow goal scorer, Sam Baldock said this about Glenn Murray:

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Glenn Murray’s 2016/17 so far…

12 appearances

6 goals

2.7 shots per game

61.7% pass success percentage

3.3 aerial duels won per game

2 Man of the Match awards

7.07 average rating

 

Article by George Carden

Brighton vs Barnsley – Match Preview

 

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Brighton have had mixed results recently. Two disappointing defeats to Newcastle and Brentford left a sour taste of pessimism among supporters. Two 1-0 victories against undefeated Huddersfield and Championship new boys, Burton, has lifted spirits in the Seagulls camp. Brighton have acquired 7 points in their last 5 games.

Barnsley have surprised many fans and pundits alike with their solid start to the season. The freescoring Yorkshire side have already won two games by a margin of 4-0 (Rotherham and Wolverhampton). They are also the top scorers in the Championship so far with an impressive 19 goals in 8 games (2.4 goals per game!). The Tykes have currently acquired 9 points in their last 5 games. They will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing defeat at the hands of Reading.


Last Time Out

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Image courtesy of zimbio.com

Brighton were held to a 0-0 draw by a 10 man Barnsley side in April 2014.


Familiar Faces

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Image courtesy of thestar.co.uk

Chris O’Grady (currently on loan at Burton), signed for Brighton from Barnsley in the summer of 2014. He was expected to fill Leonardo Ulloa’s shoes. However the target man only managed 1 goal in 31 games for Brighton in what was a dreadful campaign for player and club alike.


Fact of the Day:

Barnsley have never won back-to-back league away games at Brighton.


We are looking forward to…

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SkyBet Championship
19th April 2016

 

Seeing if Brighton can end their recent shortage of goals, whilst also nullifying the treat of free-scoring Barnsley.


Verdict:

Another tough fixture for Brighton. Now is not the time to stop scoring. We need to start playing that fast attacking football we saw at the end of last season and against Nottingham and Rotherham. Dealing with a proficient attacking outfit means we have to be careful at the back as well. At the moment, I can only see the sides drawing.

Score prediction:

1-1

BHAFC – Knockaert

Barnsley – Hourihane

Article by George Carden (@George_Carden)

Victory against Huddersfield puts the Albion back on track

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Overview

Brighton edged Huddersfield in what turned out to be a relatively tight affair.

Jamie Murphy was sent clean through by Tomer Hemed in the 8th minute. The Scotsman missed the one-on-one effort however, thus not giving Brighton the early lead.

Both teams struggled to break each other down in what was turning out to be a fairly conservative match. Long range efforts from Beram Kayal and former Albion loanee, Rajiv Van La Parra, were close to finding the net.

Brighton had the clearer chances out of both sides. However it was in the 80th minute where the deadlock would be broken. A powerful run along the edge of the box from Jamie Murphy excited Brighton fans, however the subsequent shot from Glenn Murray was blocked by the Terriers defence. Hope was not lost, the rebound was picked up by Murphy who slid the ball to Anthony Knockaert, the winger took a speculative low-driven shot towards the goal. It looked like an easy save for Huddersfield goalkeeper, Danny Ward. However, as he blocked the shot, the ball rolled out of his arms and into the back of the net. An extremely fortuitous goal for the Albion however probably a deserved one from Brighton’s control on the game.


Our Man of the Match

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Lewis Dunk. The amount of times he recovered Gaetan Bong’s mistakes was incredible. His maturity, inch-perfect tackling, direct running, and beautiful long range passes to wide areas helped stretch the play and start attacks for Brighton. It is great to see him becoming such an important figure within our team. Personally, I think he should be next in line for the captain’s armband.


Team Ratings

Stockdale – 6 – Improved since the Brentford game. Made some solid saves throughout the match.

Bruno – 6 – Helped stretch the play effectively and another player who improved since the Brentford match.

Dunk – 9 – Didn’t put a foot wrong all game. Deserved Man of the Match.

Duffy – 6 – He was solid alongside Dunk and won pretty much every header. I just worry about his definite lack of pace.

Bong – 4 – Wasn’t at the races today (and hasn’t been for a number of weeks) – Looks sluggish and gives the ball away too often. Maybe a spell out of the side would help recapture his form.

Kayal – 7 – Solid Kayal-esque performance. Did what expected!

Stephens – 7 – Put his head down and worked hard which is nice to see after the recent transfer fiasco. His partnership with Kayal is looking formidable as always.

Murphy – 6 – Missed a sitter early on and went missing for parts of the game. However did get an assist for Knockaert’s goal. Average performance.

Knockaert – 7 – Wasn’t his usual menacing self in the centre of the park and looked to get crowded out by the Huddersfield players. Went out wide in the latter stages of the game and scored a goal. Decent performance.

Skalak – 5 – Didn’t do much tonight and lacked that extra yard of pace when he did have the ball.

Hemed – 7 – I was very impressed with his hold up play in the first half. He was an effective target man and seemed to win every header. Went missing in the second half sometimes.


Summary

Overall, it wasn’t one of Brighton’s best performances. They had 15 shots but only managed to get 3 of those on target. The Albion were solid defensively, they didn’t allow Huddersfield the opportunity to get a decent chance in the box.  In the end, its a big statement of intent to beat the early league leaders and has reignited the faith of many fans for the season ahead. Onwards and upwards!

 

Article by George Carden.