The Day After: A Brighton Fan’s Thoughts on the Game


Football can be cruel. In the space of minutes, a result can be turned on its head and throw fans through every emotion thinkable. Fulham were on the receiving end of that when Brighton punished them with two goals in three minutes back in early January. That would be the unfortunate fate of Brighton last night. Goals from Mohamed Diame and Ayoze Perez in the space of eight minutes snatched 3 points and 1st place from Hughton’s clutches.

brighton-hove-albion-v-newcastle-united-sky-bet-championship
Image sourced from: irishmirror.ie

Thoughts on the game…

Brighton started off the stronger of the two sides. Bruno was denied by Kyle Darlow after the keeper parried his powerful volley. Baldock also came very close after a clever free kick routine which saw him clear on goal. However, once again Darlow made the vital stop. The Magpies keeper made a few more decent saves against Knockaert and Murray

A scramble in the box granted Brighton a seemingly fortuitous penalty. Both Murray and Clark were pulling each others shirts. It was the first of many odd decisions by referee,  Bobby Madley. Murray stepped up and converted the penalty.

Both teams had very good chances to score. Gouffran should have capitalised from Stockdale’s mistake. Brighton were unlucky to have a header cleared off the line. On another day the score could of been much higher for both teams.


Player Ratings

3dd08f5d00000578-4269204-image-m-47_1488319040763
Image sourced from: dailymail.co.uk (Getty Images)

 

It was a very mixed game for Brighton. The Seagulls created many great chances in the first 30 minutes. However, it was Newcastle who controlled the rest of the match in search of an equaliser.

David Stockdale – 6 – The keeper made some important saves which undeniably kept Brighton in the match. However, he almost gifted Gouffran a goal with a careless pass. Stockdale also should of done better with his punch for the first goal. It left him out of position for Diame’s fortuitous deflection.

Bruno – 5 – Unlucky not to score from his powerful volley. He was caught out of position and needed to win the header from Ritchie’s cross field ball to prevent the second goal.

Dunk – 7 – Another solid performance. Didn’t do much wrong and unlucky to see his header cleared off the line.

Duffy – 7 – Continuing to impress and wins virtually every header. A brilliant addition alongside Dunk. However shouldn’t have lost Perez in the box for Newcastle’s second goal

Tomori – 5Struggled on the left side because he is naturally right footed. Played well enough and made a few decent tackles.

Knockaert – 6 – We saw occasional glimpses of his quality. However, Newcastle did well in man marking and making sure he had limited space.

Sidwell – 8 – Another solid performance. He made some crucial tackles. Sidwell alongside Stephens is looking like a great partnership.

Stephens – 6 – Average game for his standard. He did his job but also misplaced too many passes on the night.

Murphy – 7 – One of the better performers in the team. His direct running threatened Newcastle in the first half. He went missing in the second half.

Baldock – 6 – Provided energy and pace upfront as he always does. He was unlucky not to score in first half.

Murray – 5 – Yes he scored a penalty. However, misplaced far too many passes and was isolated in the second half. Not his best game in a Brighton shirt.


Man of the Match:

steve-sudwell
Image sourced from: dailymail.co.uk

Steve Sidwell. He was been rock solid in recent games. Provided some crucial tackles and link up play. He didn’t put a foot wrong in my opinion.



Remaining Games

We have played the best team in the Championship and were unlucky to lose. We lost to a team that is worth over £70,000,000 who also have a Champions League winning manager at their helm. We only have one top six side to play (Leeds). The rest of our games are very ‘winnable’ against mid-table sides. Villa might be a struggle on the last day of the season, but hopefully we will be promoted already by then.

We need Newcastle to do us a favour and beat Huddersfield and Reading in their two fixtures. If they do and we can get past Forest and Rotherham then we could be 12 points clear of third.

We have +30 goal difference and are 6 points clear of third. We are in a very strong position and promotion is in our hands. Lets just hope the players can hold their nerve.


Verdict

1488316033099_lc_galleryimage_brighton_england_february
Image sourced from: Getty Images

Both teams were below par however it was still an end-to-end entertaining game. The scoreline should have been much higher! Bobby Madley didn’t help the flow of the game by blowing the whistle every time players made contact. I thought we sat on our laurels too early and payed the price by sitting too deep and as a result gave Ritchie and Shelvey space to run at our defence and spray passes around the pitch. We were too sloppy with our passing which cost us when we were chasing a goal at the end. Hughton normally makes wise substitutions, however, taking Baldock off when it was 1-1 invited pressure and allowed the Magpies defence to play it out from the back. Kayal was also ineffective when he came on the pitch.

However, the chances we created would have probably been enough against a lower-placed side. It wasn’t our worse performance but a combination of misfortune and lack of concentration cost us. If we play like we did last night against Nottingham Forest, we are very likely to come away with three points.

Ideally, both Newcastle and Brighton will finish in the top two. Both teams have been superior than the rest of the Championship clubs over the course of the season and it would be the fairest outcome!

I believe Newcastle will win the league. Last night’s result will probably be the difference. However, winning the league is not the priority. Securing second and avoiding play offs is.

Top two is the priority and we are still in a great position to finish there.

Article by George Carden

Match Preview – Brighton vs Sheffield Wednesday – 20/01/17

Brighton face a sixth placed Sheffield Wednesday side who will be looking to cause an upset in front of the Sky cameras.

5ad29128-298a-4ef5-98b5-c2f6e79f1306_800
Courtesy of http://www.seagulls.co.uk

Recent Form

Brighton suffered their first defeat in 18 games last weekend away to Preston North End. The Seagulls hadn’t lost a league game since September 10. However, before that, Chris Hughton’s side won five games in a row. Brighton currently have 12 points out of 15 in their last five games.

Sheffield Wednesday are currently unbeaten in six games, they have won four of those last six. Carlos Carvahal’s side boast wins against table-toppers Newcastle, and Huddersfield Town. In their last 5 games, the Owls have acquired 11 points out of a possible 15.


Last Time Out

knockaert

Brighton won 2-1 thanks to goals from Sam Baldock and Anthony Knockaert. Gary Hooper scored a 90th minute consolation but it was too little, too late for Sheffield Wednesday.


Familiar Faces

will-buckley
Image courtesy: Getty Images

Will Buckley. The winger joined Brighton in the summer of 2011 and went on to score 19 goals in 96 games for Seagulls. He then linked up with former manager, Gus Poyet, at Sunderland. Buckley failed to adapt to life in the Premier League. He made just over 20 appearances for Sunderland but since then has been loaned out to Leeds United, Birmingham City and current team, Sheffield Wednesday.


Fact of the Day:

Brighton last played Sheffield Wednesday on a Friday evening in 2012. The Seagulls won 3-0 thanks to goals from Craig Mackail-Smith, Wayne Bridge and you guessed it… Will Buckley.


We are looking forward to…

_93667261_dunk2
Image courtesy: Getty Images

Having Lewis Dunk back in the side. He has been a rock in defence all season and having him back from his two-game suspension will be crucial.


Verdict

Another massive game for Brighton. The players will be bursting to claim even more ‘revenge’ after the play off misery of last season. That revenge factor played the difference at Hillsborough in October and it could be the difference tonight.

Prediction:

BHAFC: 2

Murray, Dunk

Sheffield Wednesday: 1

Wallace

 

Article by 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.


007603a6-7b4e-4761-a408-1c1f91cebcd1_800


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.

birminghamcityvbrightonhovealbionsky-x3xx7s2ehfx
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

 

chris-hughton_jpg_gallery

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

Last piece of the puzzle: How Shane Duffy has made Albion’s defence the most formidable in the league

The towering centre-back has formed arguably the best defensive partnership alongside Lewis Dunk this season.

dunk-l229-3348789_613x460
Image courtesy of http://www.seagulls.co.uk

Duffy, signed from Blackburn for £4.5 million in the summer, has been a revelation and one of the key factors to Brighton’s run of 13 undefeated league games. During that time Brighton have only conceded 5 goals.

The Irishman has averaged 7.3 clearances per game as well as 1.1 tackles and nearly 2 interceptions per game too. Duffy boasts a pass success rate of 78% which shows his ability to help Brighton start attacks from the back.

1c46c43e-938c-4e99-bf01-dafe4c977f9e_800
Image courtesy of http://www.seagulls.co.uk

The defender has managed an average rating of 7.44  for Brighton this season. Only Lewis Dunk and Anthony Knockaert have played better this season (both with a 7.67 average rating).

 

The 24 year old could be compared to former skipper, Gordon Greer. An old fashioned big defender who relies on their physicality rather than pace. It may be true that Duffy lacks the acceleration of someone like Connor Goldson, however his positioning and ability to read the game and win the vast majority of aerial duels is a credit to his talent. Full credit to Hughton and the scouting team on acquiring such a brilliant player.

Which former Albion player would you compare Duffy to?

 

Article by George Carden

Albion November Round Up

 

 

steve-sidwell-scores-from-the-ha

November was a bit stop-start for the Seagulls. The two week international break certainly didn’t help Chris Hughton’s side. Brighton went into the Bristol City fixture on the 5th of November high on confidence after dispatching Norwich in a 5-0 thumping. A wonder goal from Steve Sidwell followed by a poignant celebration dedicated to Anthony Knockaert’s recently deceased father was the main talking point of the match. A goal from Jamie Murphy topped off a straightforward 2-0 win. It is important to also think of the Ince family during this time. Rohan Ince’s father also passed away in November.

Hemed, Duffy, Norwood, and Jiri Skalak represented their countries during the international break.

dunk-vs-villa

Brighton then faced Steve Bruce’s inform Villa side on November 18th. Despite their league position, most Albion fans could sense the importance of this fixture. Relatively low-spenders Brighton versus a Premier League founder who had spent 50 million on transfers alone in the summer. Villa came to the game and didn’t allow Brighton time and space with their pacey wingers and high pressure tactics. An outstanding goal from Glenn Murray was definitely the highlight. 1-1 was a fair reflection on the match in general.

colin-calderwood-scummy-snake

 

Following on from this, Colin Calderwood resigned as assistant-manager the night before the Aston Villa match. He then controversially joined Steve Bruce’s side after a compensation deal was agreed between the two clubs.

Calderwood joined as Hughton’s deputy ahead of the 2015/16 season and alongside Hughton, guided Brighton to their highest ever Championship points tally of 89. He didn’t cover himself in glory however in the last game of the 2015/16 season. Arguably the biggest match in the clubs history, Calderwood appeared to elbow Boro manager, Aitor Karanka, after affairs became relatively heated. So maybe his departure is a positive thing. He doesn’t carry the same dignity and class as Chris.

Since then, Brighton have brought in Paul Trollope. He was the name everyone expected to be appointed due to his connection with Hughton from working with him at Birmingham and Norwich.

kayal vs mk dons

Beram Kayal signed a new two and a half year contract extension. The classy midfielder has been ever-present since joining in January 2015. He will be one of the key men if Albion want to grab a top 2 spot this season. Now all we need is for Dale Stephens to sign a contract!

Lastly, Brighton came back from the jaws of defeat, winning 2-1 against an impressive Fulham side. This game saw Stockdale, Duffy, and Baldock have some of the best games in their Albion careers. Fulham were unlucky not to get anything out of the match, but it also shows that the team we have assembled this season is one with a myriad of threats to opposing sides. Everyone contributes!

 

Article by George Carden. (Twitter: @George_Carden)

Match Preview – Everything you need to know about Aston Villa

murray-f229-3389107_1600x900

The West Midlands side have suffered a rough start to their first season in the second tier since the 1987/88 season. New owner, Tony Xia, hired Champions League winner Roberto Di Matteo at the start of the season. The Italian was sacked after only 12 games and 1 solitary win. Since then, they have acquired Steve Bruce. The former Manchester United defender is the perfect appointment for Villa. He knows what it takes to achieve success on and off the field and he will certainly make the Villans a formidable threat come the end of the season.

Summer Signings

ross-mccormack

Villa have spent a total of £49,000,000 in transfer fees and have acquired 17 players. Their heftiest dealings come in the form of Ross McCormack (£14 million), Jonathan Kodjia (£11 million) and James Chester (£7.91 million). Villa have made a loss of £33 million this season. A huge gamble which so far hasn’t paid off but with the quality of their signings and experience of Steve Bruce, it is almost a certainty that they will  be challenging for at least a play off place come the end of the season.


History

3688
Tony Barton (left) and Dennis Mortimer (right)  lifting European Cup at victory parade in 1982.

Aston Villa were founded in 1874. They have been one of the most influential clubs in England due to the fact they were a founding member of the Football League in 1888 and a founding member of the Premier League in 1992.

Aston Villa have a rich list of achievements. Arguably their biggest achievements was winning the European Cup in 1981/82 (beating Bayern Munich 1-0). Along with this, Villa have also won the first division seven times, the FA Cup seven times and the UEFA Super Cup once.


Familiar Faces:

Tommy-Elphick.jpg

Tommy Elphick. The Brighton youth academy graduate played 153 times for the Seagulls. He left in 2012 due to injury problems and a lack of first team football. He then joined Bournemouth and captained them on a remarkable journey from League 1 into the Premier League. However, the defender only made 14 appearances last season which is why he decided to drop down a league and join current team, Aston Villa.

Another familiar face for both sets of supporters will be Warren Aspinall. He was their top scorer in the season they got promoted back to the top division in 1987/88.


Fact of the Day:

This season is the only season Aston Villa have not partaken in the Premier League since its founding in 1992.


Verdict:

Villa have been a much improved side since Steve Bruce took charge. Ignore their poor start as with the players they have got and the recent form they are in means it will be an extremely tough match. Brighton have been very impressive this season and have kept four clean sheets in a row. Both sides will cancel each other out tonight.

Prediction:

2-2

Article by George Carden