Brighton and Hove Albion v Birmingham City (28/11/15) | Review

I’m sure that all those pre-season doubters are thinking of shooting themselves, after the incredible streak that Brighton are currently on. Most pundits had Brighton down for a mid-table finish, and even FourFourTwo magazine had them down for a 23rd place finish! They clearly didn’t take into account the record that Chris Hughton possesses when it comes to managing Championship teams, or the fact that Brighton had got to the play-offs twice in a row previously before their shocking season last year. Well, they are being made to eat their own words, after Brighton made it 18 unbeaten after a fantastic 2-1 win over Birmingham. It wasn’t more than what they deserved, as the Seagulls dominated the game from start to finish, bar a few late attacks from the visitors.

Hughton named the same team that came away with a point from Burnley last Sunday, but he did name the 2 new loan signings, Rajiv van La Parra and James Wilson on the bench.  The game started fast and the first opportunity came from Dale Stephens, after Liam Rosenior broke down the left wing and send a swinging cross towards Stephens, only for his header to go over the bar. Next was the turn of Jamie Murphy, after his mazy run between 3 defenders allowed him to have a shot, but it was deflected behind for a corner. Murphy was a the centre of the next chance, he dribbled past 2 defenders before laying in Rosenior, to which he crossed towards Solly March, and after he mis-kicked his initial shot, he followed it up and fire home his 3rd goal of the season. It was shot lived however, as Birmingham almost immediately responded when some lovely intricate play allowed Jacques Maghoma to hit a shot towards the Albion goal; David Stockdale did save it, but the ball fell kindly for Jon Toral to head the ball into an empty net to level the scores. The ever-brilliant Rosenior was disappointingly stretched off with a serious-looking injury, and replace by Inigo Calderon, we wish him the best. A bit of controversy next when a swinging March free-kick was initially caught by Tomasz Kuszczak but then dropped, with the ball then being bundled home by Tomer Hemed. However, referee Gavin Ward had given a free kick in favour of Birmingham, thinking that Lewis Dunk had fouled Kuszczak prior to him dropping the ball. Beram Kayal was next to test Kuszczak after his rasping free-kick flew through the wall, but unfortunately was straight a the keeper; either side of him and it was a goal. Toral had a chance just before half-time, after his curled shot was inches away from nestling in the Brighton goal, but both teams went in level at half-time. 2 minutes into the second-half the Seagulls regained the lead; Murphy flashed a pass across goal for March to hit, his shot was saved by Kuszczak but he only parried it to Bobby Zamora, and the fan favourite poked the ball home for his second close range goal in as many games. March broke down the right wing once again, but his cut-back was comfortably saved  by Kuszczak with Wilson and Hemed lurking. Demarai Gray had a great chance to grab an equaliser, but his powerful, low shot was saved by Stockdale and went out for a corner. March once again produced some magic on the right, when he jinked past 2 defenders and sent in a great ball towards Hemed, but the Israeli wasn’t tall enough to get his head on it. Wilson had his first Albion chance; he cut inside from the left wing and hit a low shot across the goal, although it flew just inches away from the post and went out for a goal-kick. He had another chance when he was put through 1-on-1 with Kuszczak, his shot came back off the right post and into the relived arms of Kuszczak. As the game was coming to a close, Stockdale saved the 3 points from turning into 1 after he stopped a David Davis attempt, which was goal-bound. The whistle was met with cheers as the Seagulls extended their unbeaten run at the expense of beating the division’s best away team.

Line-Up;

Stockdale (7); Didn’t have too much to do, but once again commanded his box well and helped keep the 3 points from turning into 1.

Bruno (7); A solid game for the right-back, his overlapping runs over March offered more options and caused Birmingham problems, which allowed March to thrive in attacking areas. Great defensive duties too.

Greer (7); Had a difficult job in marking the tricky, lightning quick Gray but did the job well and didn’t allow him to have anytime on the ball for him to produce his magic.

Dunk (7); He had a good game, kept Gray quiet with the help of Greer, but once again he seemed to want to wrestle with his opponent’s more than tackling them. Needs to be slightly careful, as some ref’s won’t be as lenient as others.

Rosenior(6); Heart-breaking for the new Albion favourite. Prior to his injury he fashioned chances and produced some neat work with the help of Murphy. Obviously we wish him the best with his recovery.

Murphy (8); Just keeps getting better and better with every game, his confidence must be sky high; drew the defenders in and glided past them numerous times which created chances for the front 2.

Kayal (7); The solid midfield duo once again commanded the centre of the pitch; Kayal had some good chances in the second half, but was more focused on defensive duties this week.

Stephens (7); Arguably one of the best centre-midfielder’s in the Championship, his work rate and skill is second-to-none and showed that on Saturday. Let’s hope it can continue for the rest of the season.

March (9); An outstanding display from the young winger, he really is starting to blossom under Hughton, and like Murphy’s, his confidence must be sky high. Got on the score sheet again, and caused numerous headaches for Jonathan Grounds at left-back.

Zamora (8); Poked home his second tap in in as many games, and has now scored 4 for the season. Great hold up play with Hemed, before being replaced just past the our-mark for Wilson.

Hemed (7); Had a goal incorrectly dissallowed, but the chances are there for the forward; he just needs to take one and he will be back on the goal-scoring trail.

Subs;

Calderon (7); Replaced the injured Rosenior and partnered up well with Murphy, which caused Paul Caddis to re-think his strategy of trying to get forward as much as possible.

Wilson (6); Should of opened up his Albion account on his debut, but what signing he looks; bags of pace and will cause havoc in the opposition’ defence.

Ince (5); Replaced Hemed to sure up the midfield and see the game out.

Brighton [2]-[1] Birmingham; March (17) Zamora (47); Toral (22)

Att; 27,242

MOTM; March

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Brighton and Hove Albion v Birmingham (28/11/15) | Preview

Who else believes that this is as good as any time to be a Brighton supporter?  It’s almost too good to be true, but you can stop pinching yourself because you aren’t dreaming, what you are witnessing this season is actually happening. An unbeaten league run stretching  18 games, sitting in the promotion place and now a future starlet has joined our promotion push for the season. It’s a big change since this time last year where Brighton were hovering above the relegation zone, and had only won 3 times all season. Now they have a squad as good as any of their competitors, not to mention the added firepower of James Wilson, who rejected 20 other clubs to join Brighton for the season! They welcome Birmingham to the South Coast on Saturday, and if this game is as good as the last, we are all in for a treat.

Birmingham sit in the final play-off spot as present, and have had an upturn in fortunes; for nearly being relegated to promotion contenders in the space of a year and a half. They have had a great start to their season, losing only 5 games, 4 of which have come at home! They fair much better on the road however, picking up 17 points out of a possible 24. Most of their goals have come from powerhouse forward Clayton Donaldson (5), but he is ruled out for the trip to The AMEX due to a groin injury; he is joined by Paul Robinson and David Cotterill on the medic table, with quad and knee injuries respectively. They do however have midfielder Jon Toral available, and he will be looking to add to his 3 goal tally. New loan signings James Vaughan and Greg Halford will both be avaliable for selection, and look set to feature on Saturday.

Brighton will have new signings James Wilson and Rajiv van La Parra avaliable to them too on Saturday, and both look set to feature at some point. Kazenga LuaLua and Andrew Crofts are back in training, but this game will come too early for them, while Inigo Calderon, Uwe Hunemeier and Rohan Ince and all expect to be fit after missing out last weekend due to illness, ankle and groin injuries respectively. Long-term absentees Gaetan Bong and Sam Baldock won’t be avaliable until at least the New Year. Brighton will be looking to secure another 3 home points, after taking them home 6 times out of 8. Tomer Hemed’s goal-drought goes on (9 games), and may feel cautious about his starting place after the signing of Wilson.

H-2-H;

The H-2-H record shows good and bad reading; Birmingham have won 5 times out of the 16 games played compared to Brighton’s 4. However, 3 of those wins have come in the last 4 matches between the 2 sides, including their recent game where Brighton won 4-3 back in February. Minus that game, the previous 3 matches before have been settled by the scoreline of 1-0, and Saturday’s game can go down a similar route with both teams in such good form.

Likely Line-Up;

Stockdale;

Bruno, Greer, Hunemeier, Rosenior;

March, Kayal, Stephens, Murphy;

Hemed, Zamora;

Prediction;

Brighton 1-0 Birmingham

Burnley v Brighton and Hove Albion (22/11/15) | Review

Game 17 has come and gone, and to be able to say Brighton are still unbeaten is something quite remarkable. The halfway point of the season is usually the time where teams decide if they can make the promotion places, that time is 6 games away, and Brighton seem to be among 5 teams vying for those 2 places. With Brighton playing 2 of those other 4 teams in the next 6 games, it will not only test their promotion credentials but could help them pull away from the chasing pack at such a pivotal part of the season. It had been 211 days since Brighton’s last league defeat (Watford 25/4/15) going into the Burnley game, and a run they were looking to increase, as they bare down QPR’s record of 19 unbeaten league games. They took a step closer to that record, but they can count themselves lucky in some ways that Burnley’s shooting was worse that shocking, otherwise the scoreline could have been different.

Burnley had gone into this game 5 games unbeaten, and have only dropped 5 points at home all season, so this game was going to be more that a challenge for Chris Hughton’s men, it was a task which seemed impossible. The game started well for the team in the high vis kit, as Solly March broke down the right wing, and after an cut back from March fell to Dale Stephens, his shot was blocked by Michael Keane, only for the ball to fall to Tomer Hemed but his shot was denied by the cross bar, however Bobby Zamora was on hand to prod the ball over the line, and give the Seagulls a 57 second lead. Just as the celebrations were dying down in the away stand, 48 seconds after the restart, Burnley were awarded a penalty when Lewis Dunk was penalised for holding Keane. It looked harsh, but it’s one of those decisions only certain referees give, and clearly Simon Hooper is one of those referees. Nevertheless the inform Andre Gray dispatched the penalty, and brought the home side level. Burnley created the next chance, when George Boyd hit a thunderbolt from a free kick which David Stockdale just managed to keep from rolling under him. Stockdale was called into action again, as Boyd crossed a dangerous ball for Rouwen Hennings, but his shot was saved.  The next chance wasn’t created until the second half when Scott Arfield flicked the ball forward towards Boyd, and after a one-two with Boyd, Arfield flashed his shot just wide of Stockdale’s post. Arfield had another great chance, after his long ball forward was met by Gray, and after his cross had evaded everyone inside the box, Arfield had the chance to put Burnley ahead, but his curling shot went wide. Chris Long had a last-gasp chance to snatch the 3 points, after Gray’s header was directed at goal, but he poked the ball wide as Stockdale was coming to claim, and both sides settled for a point.

Line-Up;

Stockdale (8); He maybe should of saved the penalty, but not for the first time this season, he has saved the Seagulls coming away with nothing. Made some great saves, and I’m sure he will continue to do so.

Bruno (7); Mixed game for the full-back; supported March and Murphy well in the first half, but had to rely more on defensive duties in the second half as Burnley looked for the win.

Greer (8); Solid game for the captain on his return. With the help of Dunk, he kept Gray quiet and left him with scraps to feed off

Dunk (6/7); Undecided between the two, he did well defending against Gray, Long and Hennings, but at times he was more interested in wrestling with the attacker, whether that be the 3 attackers or Keane from set-pieces. The penalty should of been a warning for him not to do it again, but he continued to do so, and could of easily been penalised for 3 or 4 more.

Rosenior(7); Like Bruno, a mixed game; plenty of attacking in the first half, but kept to his defensive duties in the second to deny Burnley scoring a winner.

Murphy (7); Good first half for the Scot, however, he was a little quiet in the second, but obviously doesn’t help when the opposition are constantly on the attack.

Kayal (8); Another great game from the midfield guardian. Not much got passed him, and did well keeping tabs on Joey Barton, and didn’t allow him to play his usual game. Awarded the Sky Bet Man Of The Match too.

Stephens (7); Solid game from Stephens, and just like Kayal, he didn’t allow too much through him. The partnership of these two is going from strength to strength, and will be pivotal to Brighton’s promotion push

March (7); Caused all sorts of problems in the first half, including the cut back to Stephens; bit too quiet in the second half but came back and did his defensive duties well

Zamora (8); Scored once again, and although it wasn’t a winning one, it was just as important. It helped settle early nerves, as Brighton have struggled to score away from home. Subbed mid-way through the second half may suggest that he can’t play a full game just yet which will most likely indicate Hughton will need to dive into the loan market.

Hemed (7); Should of scored really, but thankfully Zamora was on hand to get the rebound. Just like his opposite, Hemed had to live off scraps and with out Baldock chasing the long balls it was hard for him to create anything clear-cut

Subs;

Forster-Caskey (6); Replaced Zamora, and played just behind Hemed. Helped things tick over, and helped see the game out as Burnley increased the pressure.

Manu (6); Replaced Hemed, and gave Keane and Michael Duff some problems with his pace, but nothing to worry them too much.

Burnley [1]-[1] Brighton; Gray (4 pen); Zamora (1)

Att; 15662 (375 Brighton)

MOTM; Kayal

Burnley v Brighton and Hove Albion (22/11/15) | Preview

How are we all coping?? Now that we have a straight road ahead of us til Easter, it’s time to buckle up and get set for a rollercoaster of a ride. As Brighton enter game 17, they remain unbeaten in the Championship, and have come off the back of breaking a long-standing club record for longest unbeaten league run. But as they enter, what is deemed to be the ‘make or break’ part of their season, it’s now time to put those words into practise, and continue their fine form over the next 7 games and beyond. Those 7 games begin away to Burnley, a side who have been in great form themselves.

Burnley haven’t lost any of their last 7 league games, and have only lost twice this season. On top of that they have only dropped 4 points out of a possible 21 at home drawing against Birmingham, and losing to Reading, both of whom are promotion contenders. But like Brighton they have yet to play some of the ‘big boys’, with Hull, QPR and Middlesbrough all waiting for them after Sunday’s game. But with a striker in such scintillating form in the ranks of Andre Gray, you can expect them to pick up a few points or two in those games. Gray has scored 8 goals so far, and is deemed to be the buy of the season. Michael Keane is the rock solid centre-back that any promotion candidates need, and the fact he is popping up with goals (3) is an added bonus. Keane, along with centre-back partner Michael Duff, have played every minute of Championship football thus far, and can expect to remain in that category on Sunday.

Brighton won last time out at home to MK Dons, after 3 straight draws. However, the win came at a price, after Sam Baldock went off injured and won’t recover in time for the trip to Lancashire. More positive news though, Gordon Greer will travel with the squad, but may have to settle for a spot on the bench. Kazenga LuaLua was back in training this week, but the game on Sunday will come too early for him to make the squad, but he is expected to be fit for the home game against Birmingham next Saturday. Tomer Hemed will be looking to re-kindle his goal scoring form, after shooting blanks in the last 8 games; he has however scored on international duty for Israel.

H-2-H;

The head-to-head record between these 2 makes interesting reading; both have won 5 and draw the other 6 of the 16 meeting between the 2 sides. The last game was a 0-0 draw at Turf Moor back in January 2014, but prior to that Brighton had won the previous 3 games including a 3-1 win at Burnley, where a certain Craig Mackail-Smith scored a overhead volley. Based on current form and previous meeting, you don’t need to be a genius to back the draw, but a close game is in store and either team can win, although it will more that likely be by 1 goal.

Likely Line-Up;

Stockdale;

Bruno, Dunk, Hunemeier, Rosenior;

Crofts, Kayal, Stephens;

Murphy, Hemed, March;

Prediciton;

Burnley 0-0 Brighton

Brighton and Hove Albion v MK Dons (7/11/15) | Review

What a time to be a Brighton fan; only team unbeaten in all of the UK and now have set a new club record for the longest unbeaten league run! Words cannot describe what is going on at Brighton, but some that I would choose are; disbelief and admiration. Disbelief because of how Brighton played last year, and survived by the skin of their teeth, but admiration for Chris Hughton and his staff for turning around a relegation-threatened team into genuine promotion contenders in the space of 12 months. And I think that you will all agree that takes some doing. Having said all of that, Gus Poyet did almost the same thing, when he took over just before the halfway point back in 2009, and in his first full season in charge got the club promoted back to the Championship…Deja vu anyone? He didn’t have an extravagant unbeaten run mind you, but he did have the knowledge to get the wins which saw the Albion sit top for a majority of that season. Anyway, what’s going on present time at Brighton is special, and they haven’t got there on luck, unlike what rival fans might think. Brighton transfer business was good and quick, they didn’t wait around to do it on the last few days unlike previous seasons, and when they did make the early signings, they made immediate impacts, such as Tomer Hemed, Uwe Hunemeier, Jamie Murphy and Liam Rosenior, and lest we forget Gaetan Bong. They strengthen in areas where they though they would be vulnerable, and while they may be a couple of signing short of promotion favourites, they are well worth where they are now. Chasing that unbeaten record, the Seagulls welcomed the much hated club (or franchise) MK Dons to the south coast, looking to re-write the record books. While it wasn’t going to be an easy game, Brighton were strong favourites to win after picking up 2 valuable away points from promotion rivals in their last 2 games.

The games started as you would expect, Brighton on the front foot and looking for an early goal, which is exactly what they got, through Solly March, who has recently shown the quality we all knew he possessed but had never quite shown it. His rasping shot, which came to him after a poor clearance from a corner, flew through a flurry of defenders and flew into the back of David Martin’s net for a 5 minute lead. Brighton weren’t content with their early goal ad were looking to get another one soon after, and could have been 2-0 up only if Dale Stephens had connected better with a Murphy free kick. But the did find themselves 2-0 up with their next chance; March broke into midfield and played simple ball to Sam Baldock, who’s pass wasn’t great but somehow ended up at Murphy’s feet which allowed him to finish into the bottom left corner. MK Dons halved the deficit when Nicky Maynard hit a shot from 25 yards, and found the corner of David Stockdale’s goal. Brighton looked to restore their 2 goal advantage, when March broke down the right wing, and squared the ball across goal, only to be prodded away and for Hemed to acrobatically sent the ball into orbit. Another great chance went begging, or should I say 2, after March yet again beat the left-back to break clear to square the ball for Hemed, only for the ball to hit the inside of the post and come out. From that, Murphy picked the ball up and crossed it, but Hemed headed wide what should of been an easy finish. Second half started brightly for the visitors, and they could of felt aggrieved that they weren’t given a penalty, when Samir Curruthers was sent flying by Lewis Dunk; first instincts said it wasn’t a penalty, but after video replays, I’m scratching my head as to what the referee and linesman saw, as it was so blatant. Nevertheless, it wasn’t given. Murphy had a good chance to get a second goal, after his mazy run through the defence was met with a tame attempt on goal which was easily saved by Martin. MK Dons tried pushed on trying to find an equaliser, but failed and left empty handed, while Brighton remain unbeaten and move back up into the automatic promotion places.

Line-up; (I GOT IT RIGHT!!! 🙂 )

Stockdale (7); A sort of quiet afternoon for the Albion stopper, especially in the first half, bit more to do in the second half, but poor finishing from MK Dons made his job easier as the game went on.

Bruno (8); After starting the season slowly, he has picked up his game and is showing what most fans expect to see from the veteran right-back; good defending as well as supporting the attack when needed. It seems the captaincy has given him a much needed lift.

Dunk (7); Had a wary afternoon trying to keep Maynard quiet, but was a threat from set-pieces, and could of had 3 penalties if the referee was brave enough to give some blatant shirt pulling or ripping in this case.

Hunemeier (7); Like Dunk, had a tough afternoon keeping the MK’s attack quiet, and whilst he didn’t pose a threat on the attacking side of set-pieces, he did on the defensive side.

Rosenior (7); Seems to be making that left-back spot his own, and has fitted well into it. Linked up well with Murphy and had a few crosses which should of had attackers on the end of.

March (8); The young winger is in full stride now, and seems to have the confidence he was lacking much of last season. A great performance from him, and his goal will be one his will remember for a while.

Kayal (7); The midfield maestro was on his game again, and made things in midfield look simple at times. The passes out wide were effortless and the defensive side of his game is starting to become apparent too.

Stephens (7); The midfield paring of these 2 has been inspirational to Brighton’s run thus far, and as long as these 2 are fit and playing, it will be a tough ask to beat such a sturdy midfield.

Murphy (8); Goal-scorer once again, and is looking like he has settled on the south coast, after a slow start to life at Brighton. Created chances, and could of had a few more goals, if he had done his shooting practise last week 😉 .

Hemed (6); Although his heart’s in the right place, he needs to be taking some of these chances that fall his way, he missed 2 inside a matter of 10 seconds. Fair play to the lad though, he doesn’t give up and I do expect him to break it sooner rather that later.

Baldock (7); As I have said countless times before, this guy does not stop running; he must be a defenders worst nightmare. If he can add goals to his running game, he could be an important asset to the team when it gets down to the thick of it. Hope the injury that forced him off isn’t too serious though.

Subs;

Zamora (6); Came on for the injured Baldock, but not too much from him. Didn’t have much to do other than hold the ball up and wait for support, which didn’t arrive at times.

Crofts (6); Replaced Hemed to created some stability in midfield, and with some more game time, he could make a late charge into the Wales Euro 2016 squad.

Manu (6); Got some glimpses of what the Dutch winger can do, and will be looking forward to it more often as the season goes on

Brighton [2]-[1] MK Dons; March (5), Murphy (19); Maynard (23)

Att.; 23,661

MOTM; March

Brighton and Hove Albion v MK Dons (7/11/15) | Preview

A record-breaking day it could be tomorrow at the AMEX, only if Brighton can avoid defeat against lowly MK Dons. Brighton are tied level on 16 games, for the longest unbeaten streak in the clubs history, a record which stretches back to 1930!! Even if they don’t break the record, it has been an amazing run, which has seen the Seagulls sit top of the table for a majority of the season thus far, although they now sit 3rd after an away draw at Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday. MK Dons have had a mixed start to life in the second tier, they started well away to Rotherham back in August (1-4) but have since have lost 9 of the remaining 14 games, although 3 of those games have been wins, all at home. MK Dons have picked up 5 points from a possible 21 away from home, and have lost the previous 2 games 2-0 and 3-0. Expect goals in this game too, as MK Dons have only kept 4 clean sheets, and let in 21 goals.

MK Dons picked up their first points in 4 games on Tuesday at home to Charlton in a tight 1-0 win. They had their fair share of defending in the second half, and if it wasn’t for keeper David Martin, they could of gone away with nothing . Dean Bowditch will be the Dons attacking threat; he is one of 5 players who are top scorers for MK with 2 goals. One of those 5 players, Ben Reeves, is set to miss the game with a calf injury as too is former Albion favourite Matt Upson. The Dons can re-call Kyle McFazdean after he served his 1 match suspension on Tuesday.

After 3 back-to-back draws, the Seagulls will be looking to get back to winning ways, especially being at home, being they have won 5 of the 7 played their thus far. Brighton look set to with out Gordon Greer again, but Kazenga LuaLua is ruled out; he should be available after the international break. Chris Hughton could name the same team that played on Tuesday, but it looks as if he will name a strong attacking team to try and take home the 3 points. Although he is on a 7 game goal-drought Tomer Hemed is still the Albion’s top scorer with 5, but he has seemed to edge nearer to breaking that drought in recent games.

H-2-H: 

These encounters have been extremely feisty in the last 4 games; 25 cards have been produced and 4 have been red cards! The last meeting was back in February of 2011, when Brighton were top of League One and closing on a return to the Championship, they did lose that game 1-0. MK Dons also hold a solid record against Brighton; 4 wins out of 7 against the Seagulls. Brighton’s last win against MK was in the title winning season of 2010/2011, but the only other win for the Seagulls was in the very first encounter in the JP Trophy back in 2006! I would back Brighton to get back on the winning trail, but it will be tight against a team desperate for points. I would also stick a cheeky fiver on a red card to be produced 😉

Likely Line-up: 

Stockdale

Bruno, Dunk, Hunemeier, Rosenior

March, Kayal, Stephens, Murphy

Hemed, Baldock

Prediction:

Brighton 2-0 MK Dons

Sheffield Wednesday v Brighton and Hove Albion (3/11/15) | Review

Game 15 is over and done with, as well as part 2 of the tough away games, after the Seagulls left Yorkshire with a point. In all honesty, it wasn’t the game that everyone was hyping up to be; it was cagey at the best of times and no team really got a firm grip on the game, with a point being the fair result. With that draw, Brighton now equal a club record 16 unbeaten league games in a row, if you include the draw away at Middlesbrough last season, a record which has stood for 85 years! Not bad going for a team who had such a terrible season last year. So, should the promotion rivals (Burnley, Derby, Middlesbrough etc.) be taking Brighton more seriously with this achievement? At the minute its hard to say; yes they should because they haven’t lost yet, no because they have drawn 7 of their 15 games and can’t always guarantee they will score a goal. It great to think that we are proving, not only other teams, but pundits and many other fans alike wrong with this unbeaten run, but Brighton do need to start winning games if they are to be serious promotion contenders, because at the moment I think they will fall short and only secure a play-off place, due to the fact they can’t score enough goals to win games. That’s not having a dig at the team either, all other promotion contenders have a 20+ goalscorer (Burnley – Andre Gray, QPR – Charlie Austin, Middlesbrough – Kike, Derby – Chris Martin, Reading – Nick Blackman etc.) and Brighton fall just short in that department and have ever since Glenn Murray left, there was glimpses from Leo Ulloa, but not enough to strike them the gold of the Premier League. Previous promotion winners from recent seasons have had players scoring in excess of 25 or even 30, and that’s what Brighton need, could it be Jonathan Calleri who does it, or someone else? Whoever it is, they need to be ruthless in front of goal. The game last night was a good-old fashioned 0-0 draw; boring and wanted to claw your eyes out at times. The first and only shot on target came in the 86th minute…due to both bad finishing and good defending. Wednesday had the first chance in the first half when Jack Hunt latched onto a lofted ball over the Albion defence, but put his shot into the side netting. Brighton had the next chance when a dangerous free kick was hit low into the box and after a bit of ping pong, Uwe Hunemeier stabbed the ball wide of the post. They had another chance, after Sam Baldock broke down the right wing and hit a powerful shot, which was saved by Kieran Westwood, but only to fall to the feet of Solly March, who’s shot was blocked by the defender. Wednesday had 2 appeals for a penalty declined by referee Kevin Wright, the first for a handball by Inigo Calderon, and then a foul by the Spaniard on Fernando Forestieri.

Line-up; I will NOT be doing ratings for this game, as its hard to judge and rate players when they didn’t do anything nor have anything to do. Sorry if this seems lazy, bit pointless when a majority of the team will have a 5/6 rating and a small description.

Stockdale

Bruno, Hunemeier, Dunk, Rosenior

Calderon, Kayal, Stephens, March

Baldock, Hemed

Subs;

Crofts, Manu

Sheffield Wednesday [0] v [0] Brighton:

Att; 23,712 ( 471 away)

MOTM; Unable to give one as there is no ratings 😦

Sheffield Wednesday v Brighton and Hove Albion (3/11/15) | Preview

As we exit, what was the hoodoo month, we enter what is statistically the Seagulls best month. Since moving into the AMEX, the Albion have played 20 matches in November, winning 10, drawing 6 and losing 4. Don’t forget, last season Brighton lost and drew 2 in November, so take away the 5 games played last season the record stands at; PL 15, W 9, D 4, L 2. Good reading right? However what isn’t, is the record which the possess when visiting Hillsborough. The Seagulls have never won at Hillsborough, and could struggle to with the incredible form shown by the Owls of recent games, which includes dumping Arsenal out of the Capital One Cup.

Carlos Carvahal’s side are currently on an 8 league game unbeaten run, after losing 3 of their first 6 games. They have only lost once at home this season, and that was to a rampant Middlesbrough side back in August. Like Brighton, the goals have been shared out, with 5 players on 2 goals, but Fernando Forestieri is their leading scorer with 4 and will pose a threat to the Albion defence as much as he did against Arsenal. Ross Wallace, who is one of the 5 to have scored 2 goals, will be pulling the strings in midfield and will be looking to provide for big centre forward Lucas Joao, who is another player on 2 goals.

Brighton will travel North in the hope of breaking their Hillsborough hoodoo, and it will likely be without captain Gordon Greer who is set to miss out again. Bruno is set to recover from cramp however, and should be fit for the starting XI. Jamie Murphy’s second Albion goal looks like it will convince Chris Hughton to start the Scotsman again, but whether its in a 4-3-3 or a 4-4-2 remains to be seen; Personally I wouldn’t change the team that drew with Reading.

H-2-H: 

As mentioned before, the Seagulls have never won at Hillsborough, and have a awful record of late against the Owls. They haven’t beaten them since September 2012, with the Seagulls seeing a red card in 2 of the other 5 games since the last victory. Other than last seasons 0-0 draw in February, Brighton haven’t taken any points away from Sheffield since October 2005. Statistically it looks like pretty doom and gloom for the Seagulls.

Likely Line-up: 

Stockdale;

Bruno, Hunemeier, Dunk, Rosenior

Crofts, Kayal, Stephens

Baldock, Hemed, Murphy

Prediction:

Sheff Wed 1-1 Brighton

Reading v Brighton and Hove Albion (31/10/15) | Review

Game 14 has now past us, and once again I’m writing about Brighton still being the only unbeaten team in the whole country! Not even the optimistic fans would believe this is still the case, and I for one, would enter myself into that group. If I’m totally honest, I generally thought that the run was coming to an end against Reading, a team where Brighton haven’t beaten then in the league for over 10 years. But hey, I’m happy that I was proved wrong.

The game started cagey as you would expect, Brighton putting their unbeaten start on the line, while Reading looking to make amends for their shambolic second-half performance last weekend at Fulham. The first real chance of the game came from a Oliver Norwood free-kick, which flew through the wall, but was palmed away by David Stockdale. Reading created the next chance, when Matej Vydra crossed brilliantly with the outside of his boot towards Nick Blackman, but the strikers header was just wide of Stockdale’s goal. Brighton had a chance before half-time, when Tomer Hemed’s header was tipped over by Ali Al-Habsi from a whipping corner by Jamie Murphy. Not long after the break, Brighton found themselves in front when some exquisite combination play down the right wing, ended up with Hemed squaring the ball across goal for Murphy, to have the simplest of tap-ins, and put the Seagulls 1-0 up. Down the other end, Reading had an appeal for handball declined by ref Neil Swarbrick, but had an effort blocked by Liam Rosenior while the protests went on. Brighton could of found themselves 2-0 up only if it wasn’t for a desperate slide from Al-Habsi, to clear a goal-bound backpass from Michael Hector. Soon after Blackman had a great attempt saved by Stockdale after he wriggled his way through the Albion defence. However, the next Blackman shot was fumbled by Stockdale, only for Vydra to slot home the spillage and level the game. The Royals could of won the game too, had it not been for a block by Stockdale to deny Paul McShane’s header from a corner. The game finished level, and both sides seemed to be happy with a point.

Line-Up;

Stockdale (8); Some will say he cost us 3 points, but his saves helped us take a point. For me he has been the most under-rated player this season, especially after having a bad one last season. He has saved us points already and I’m sure he will continue to do so as the season wears on.

Bruno (7); Like Stockdale, he has been pivotal to the defence and will continue to do so as the season goes on. Came off with 10 to play due to cramp, but hopefully will be fit enough to feature on Tuesday.

Hunemeier (7); A great signing, shows his presence and isn’t afraid to get his ‘hands dirty’ when needed. Depending on how long Greer is out for, this could be the sign of a excellent partnership with Dunk.

Dunk (7); Taking full advantage of his time in the team with Greer’s injury, and must be giving Hughton headache’s as to whether to bring back Greer once he recovers from injury.

Rosenior (7); The stand-in left-back had a good game, and filled Bong’s boots quite well, when linking up with Murphy and Baldock. Only blip was how easily he was beaten by Vydra, when he produced his outside the foot cross.

Crofts (7); First start in over a year, and did well in a 3-man midfield. Seems like Hughton could start using the 4-3-3 formation more often, especially as the 3 midfielder’s are doing so well.

Kayal (7); Returned after his one game suspension, and highlighted what the Seagulls missed last week against Preston; creativity and desire. Such an important player if the Seagulls are to go for promotion.

Stephens (7); A surprise includement in the squad, after it seemed he would be out til the international break, but resumed his wonderful partnership with Kayal. Like Kayal, he is an important player to the promotion charge.

Murphy (8); Scored his second Albion goal, and is on the hunt for more goals. Produced some good football, and looks at home on the South Coast, great signing!

Hemed (7); After last week’s ‘rant’ he seemed to wake up, and produced the sort of display he had been giving at the start of the season; just needs to break his goal-drought now

Baldock (7); Once again, he worked hard; moved out to the wing to accommodate the 4-3-3 formation, but did produce a lovely weighted pass to Hemed for him to cross for Murphy.

Subs;

Calderon (6); Came on for the injured Bruno to help things tick over.

Zamora (6); Replaced the tired-looking Hemed, but couldn’t find another late winner.

Ince (N/A); Came on for the last few minutes to see the game out.

Reading [1] v [1] Brighton: Vydra (78); Murphy (51)

Att; 21,224 (3,648 away)

MOTM; Stockdale