Brighton on an unspectacular road to safety


Glenn Murray
Photo: EuroSport

Brighton on an unspectacular road to safety

by Conor Dunford

After eight Premier League games, Brighton fans will have some concerns over their recent form, with only two league wins so far this campaign. But some dogged performances have seen the South Coast side recover some valuable points off relegation rivals.

A difficult start proved to be just that.

Brighton began this campaign at Vicarage Road, to take on Watford, who were tipped by many in pre-season to struggle for survival, but came away on the end of a 2-0 loss. Ring rust was evident in the Brighton side, as they didn’t manage a shot on target through the match, whilst Pereyra of Watford put Dunk and Duffy to the sword.

Last season, goals were hard to come by for Brighton, having scored just 34 all season, only Huddersfield & relegated duo Swansea and West Brom scored less. The arrive of Florin Andone from Deportivo La Coruna and Alireza Jahanbakhsh, a club record signing, was expected to relieve the pressure on 35 year old Glenn Murray. So far, both have struggled to repay the faith put in them by manager Chris Hughton.

Andone has failed to keep himself fit since arriving from Spain, whilst Jahanbakhsh has failed to convince the management and even the fans, what his best position is, so has failed to nail down a regular starting berth.

Giant killing Seagulls gives fans hope

Brighton ended last season with just one win in ten games, against Jose Mourinho and Manchester United. They have proved to the same nuisance to Jose and co this time around, with Murray, Dunk and Gross getting on the scoresheet to succumb an hugely disappointing Manchester United to defeat.

But the fixture list was not kind to Chris Hughton, as next up was a trip to free scoring and title challenging Liverpool. Brighton failed to put up a fight, despite losing by the solitary goal from Salah. Liverpool enjoyed 70% of the ball whilst forging 22 attempts at goal, although forcing Mat Ryan into just seven saves.

Three points from nine in the first month of the season was a start most had expected from this Brighton side. But the next two fixtures, against promoted Fulham and strugglers Southampton, were key for Brighton’s quest for survival. Despite being disappointed gaining just two points from those games, it was the resolute performances which would have pleased the fans and Hughton.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man

On both occasions, Brighton found themselves two goals down and heading to defeats against direct rivals in the league. But if Brighton are to consolidate their Premier League status, then Glenn Murray will be a huge reason they do so.

He proved himself to be a true leader on the pitch when his side looked doomed, scoring both goals as they salvaged a draw at Craven Cottage, and bullying the Southampton defence into giving up another two goal lead and Brighton gain yet another valuable point from nothing.

Murray scored 12 league goals in Brighton’s inaugural season in the Premier League, and has already managed four goals in five Premier League starts this season. Murray will be hoping to top his tally from last season, as the goal burden continues to sit on his shoulders.

Favourable fixtures on the horizon

Brighton will not be gifted points, they must earn them. To maximise their chances of survival, they must take maximum points from those who will finish around them, especially those expected to be in the relegation zone come May.

Between the October international break and December, Brighton face the following:

Newcastle (a)
Wolves (h)
Everton (a)
Cardiff (a)
Leicester (h)
Huddersfield (a)

Hughton will be looking at those fixtures hoping to come away with several wins, condemning relegation rivals closer to the drop whilst ensuring their safety. The likes of Newcastle, Cardiff and Huddersfield away will be huge fixtures for both sides. Whilst the home ties against Wolves and Leicester will be looked at as games which Brighton should use home advantage but with less disastrous consequences if they shed points.

Solid, steady & safe

Brighton fans will look at the results and feel hard done by, with just two wins from eight. But they will look at the table and the form of those around them, especially the bottom five, and take comfort from their position.

The side have been steady, safe and unspectacular, but second season syndrome is real, and if Hughton can guide his side to survival yet again, his stock as a manager will only continue its meteoric rise.


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