BHAFC v WWFC (1/1/16) | Preview

As we wrap up a whirlwind year, it safe to say that 2015 wasn’t quite billed what we expected it to be, in a good way. When Chris Hughton took over last December, nobody would of predicted he would take the Seagulls from 4th bottom to 4th top, an incredible achievement. During that time, he has broken numerous club records and has got the city firmly believing that this indeed, could be the year that Brighton get promoted to the Premier League. But, with the Seagulls currently on a winless run of 5, it’s pivotal that they get back to winning ways as soon as possible, starting with the visit of Wolverhampton Wanderers on New Year’s Day.

Wolves News;
Wolves have won their last 2 games and will be looking to make it 3 for the first time since late March/early April. Wolves have been far better away from home, winning 5 compared to the 3 home wins, however, they have also lost more away from home (5) compared to the 4 at Molineux. Kourtney Hause (hamstring) is out for the trip to the seaside, while midfielder Jack Price could make a return from illness. Emilio Martinez (thigh) is closing in on a return to the squad but will not feature in this game, while Grant Holt has gone back to Wigan after his loan expired.

Brighton News;

As mentioned before, Brighton haven’t won in their last 5 games (3D, 2L) but will be looking to kick start the year in winning fashion. Rajiv van La Parra will not feature in this game, as Wolves are his parent club, giving Elvis Manu the go ahead of being awarded his first Albion start. Gordon Greer looks set to return to the match day 18, but looks set for a place on the bench, while James Wilson has shaken off his illness. 

Earlier This Season: WWFC [0] – [0] BHAFC (19/9/15);

Earlier this season between the 2, the game at Molineux ended up as a 0-0. Tomer Hemed missed a first half penalty, while Wolves midfielder Conor Coady was sent off for a lung on Liam Rosenior.

H-2-H;

In the last 11 games between the 2, there has been 2 wins apiece with the other 7 being draws! Brighton hold the cards as it seems; they are unbeaten in 5 games (1W, 4D) against Wolves. There has been 25 goals scored in the 11 meetings, but with both teams not scoring freely this season, it could end up another bore draw. 

Likely Line-Up;

Stockdale;

Bruno, Goldson, Dunk, Calderon;

Manu, Stephens, Kayal, Murphy;

Hemed, Wilson;

Prediction;

Brighton 0-0 Wolves 

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BHAFC v ITFC (29/12/15) | Review

Another home game gone, another chance gone. When Brighton played Middlesbrough they had the chance to go top, and blew it; yesterday they had the chance to close the gap at the top to 2 points after Hull lost and Derby drew, but once again they blew it. Now this may sound like a rant more than a report, but I didn’t like the way Brighton played and conducted themselves; and for the first time this season I feel that Chris Hughton got his tactics wrong. Here are some of the points which will hopefully back up the argument in question;

1) Tomer Hemed playing as a lone striker: Hemed is not the kind of player who plays upfront by himself, he thrives off another striker prodcuing the chances, and him finishing them off, and with no-one partnering him, he had to do double the work. Sort of like Craig Mackail-Smith.

2) 4-5-1 formation: Why on earth did Hughton decide that the 4-5-1 formation would be suitable? As stated above, that the first problem with it. The second, playing the wingers so deep. There was a reason why Hemed didn’t get enough chances, the wingers were far too deep; Beram Kayal was further ahead than them at times, and he’s a centre midfielder!

3) Substitutions: Why o why Chrissy did you take, who was arguably your best midfielder, off? Crofts had an absolute poor first half and started the second half almost similar, but yet he takes Kayal, the only real creative spark, off. Puzzled wasn’t the word I would of used last night. Also, he put on Manu on too late, he only gets 10 minutes to change a game; back in September when we played Wolves and he can on at half-time, he was brilliant; struggling to understand why he isn’t getting enough minutes.

Obviously this is my opinion, and not everyone will agree with it, but I feel he got it slightly wrong. Anyway, let’s get onto the game;

Brighton had the games first chance, when a long throw from Bruno towards Kayal; the midfielder dummied a pass to Jamie Murphy, before striking the ball, however it did go wide of Dean Gerkan’s post. Not long after, Ipswich had their first chance, when a clearence from Connor Goldson invitingly fell for Kevin Bru, who’s fierce half-volley, which had Stockdale beat, crashed against the crossbar. Rajiv van La Parra was next to test Gerkan, when he fainted inside of Tommy Smith, he struck his shot low and hard, but unfortunalty it was straight at Gerkan, and managed to hold on to it especially with Tomer Hemed lurking around. Hemed created the next chance, he’s hard work and determination paid off; he took on Christoph Berra and beat him, he crossed towards Dale Stephens and the midfielder’s skilled volley tipped onto the bar by Gerkan, with Murphy bundeling in the rebound; but to the dismay of the home fans the linesman had his flag up for offside, with replays showing he was a yard or 2 onside. With that being a warning to Ipswich, they stepped it up a gear. Their closing down was superb and they made it hard for Brighton to make forward passes, whcih resulted in their next chance. A back pass from Inigo Calderon towards Lewis Dunk went under the latter’s foot and set Darly Murphy away, his cool and compossed shot came off the inside of the post before deflecting in off the diving Goldson, to give the Tractor Boys a 1-0 advantage. It could of been 2-0, had it not been for the woodword yet again; Ryan Fraser crossed the ball from the left, with Bru latching on to the ball, but it hit the post before being put behind for the corner. Brighton had the best chance of the half though, from the resulting corner, Stockdale grabbed hold of the ball before setting Murphy away on a lightning-fast counter attack, Murphy managed to beat Jonas Knudsen but couldn’t beat Gerkan 1-on-1. Plenty to think about for Chris Hughton at the interval, but within minutes of the second half, Brighton came out playing like they had been for a majority of the season; their passing was quick and accurate and chances were coming. However, Ipswich had a great chance to put the game to bed when a deep cross by Freddie Sears was collected by Fraser; his low cross was toe-poked goalwards by Johnathan Douglas, but it was straight at Stockdale and easy for him to save. Fraser was at the centre of another Ipswich chance, his powerful shot was fumbled by Stockdale, but luckily no Ipswich players were around for the rebound. La Parra came close to an equaliser, his shot which was destined for the top corner, was parried away by Gerkan to safety. Substitute Bobby Zamora had the chance of the half to salvage a point for the Seagulls, a cross from Bruno into the box was met by the oncoming Zamora, his shot beat Gerkan all-ends-up, but it didn’t beat the crossbar much to the dissapointment of the player, bench and fans. Ipswich managed to hold on to the win, while as for Brighton they slumped to their 2nd straight home defeat, and will be looking to recover before Friday’s game at home to Wolves.
Line-Up;

Stockdale (7); Wasn’t called into action that much, but was on his toes when he was needed.

Bruno (7); Up and down day for the stand-in captain, had to do his fair share of defending, but was brilliant when attacking.

Goldson (7); Positive reactions on his league debut, was sharp on the ball and wasn’t afraid to travel with it.

Dunk (6); Has become a liability in the last month or so; penatly against Burnley, sending off at QPR and now gifting Ipswich their goal. He didn’t however, let that get to him, and had a controlled second period.

Calderon (7); Much like Bruno, he had his defending duties as much as his attacking ones. Linked up well with Murphy and put in some decent crosses.

Crofts (5); As sated in my mini-rant above, I don’t have a clue how he got through 90mins, should of been taken off at half-time; passes were all over the place, didn’t look set in the holding role, and wasn’t effective going forward.

Stephens (7); Struggled in the first half, but grew into the game as it progressed and got some good passing going, which did create the few chances Brighton had.

Kayal (7); Dissapointed to be taken off, and so he should of been, argubly one of the best players on the pitch and he got subbed, fuming doesn’t come close to describing my reaction last night. During the game, however, his attacking play allowed Murphy and La Parra to get forward more and got Hemed into more attacking positions.

La Parra (8); Definatly needs to be signed up, he sort of reminds me of Craig Noone; isn’t afraid to take players on and has a wonderful crossing ability. Had Knudsen quaking at the knees all night.

Murphy (7); Should of had a goal, but unfortunatly, the linesman got a new flag for Christmas and wanted to show everybody. Other than that, he attacked well and got himself into good attacking positions.

Hemed (6/7); Couldn’t decide, had to work so hard being the lone striker, which I thought hindered his game. He is far better when there are 2 strikers up top.

Subs;

Wilson (6); Came on to try and salvage something, but was a little too quiet. Had a couple of good runs, but couldn’t grab himself a chance.

Zamora (6); Had a great chance to snatch a point, but the woodwork was having a field day. Added extra bite to the attack when he came on.

Manu (5); Not given enough time to make a real impact, but the little we did see of him, he was sharp and caused some problems at the back for Ipswich, a must starter on Friday for me.
Brighton [0]-[1] Ipswich; Murphy (32);

Att; 27,689

MOTM; La Parra

BHAFC v ITFC (29/12/15) | Preview

As we now emerge into the second half of the season, it’s now where we can start to realistically think if we will have a chance at automatic promotion or if we will have to settle for the dreaded play-offs. The first game, in what will be a long second part of the season, is the visit of Ipswich to The AMEX.

Ipswich News;

Mick McCarthy could name the same team for the 7th straight game on Tuesday, but Ryan Fraser is pushing for a start after impressing in the last 2 games. However, David McGoldrick and Teddy Bishop (both hamstring) are out until the new year. Top scorers Daryl Murphy, Brett Pitman and Freddie Sears will be looking to add to their tallies of 6. Ipswich will equal a club record fifth consecutive away win if they are victorious.

Brighton News;

Chris Hughton had a huge defensive injury problem, with Gordon Greer leaving the Brentford game early due to a hamstring injury sustained; this leaves only 5 fully fit first team defenders avaliable. Tomer Hemed and Bobby Zamora could well resume their partnership, after James Wilson came off at half time due to illness.

Earlier In The Season (ITFC [2] – [3] BHAFC 29/8/15);

In the early season encounter at Portman Road, Brighton came out trumps with a 3-2 win, which kept them top of the table at the end of August. Tomer Hemed (2) and Kazenga LuaLua were both on the scoresheet for the Seagulls, while a Sears strike and a McGoldrick penalty got the goals for the Tractor Boys.

H-2-H;

In the 15 game between the 2 sides, there have been 5 wins for both teams with 5 draws. Brighton have won the last 2 games (both 3-2), but Ipswich won the previous 3 before that (all 2-0). With both team needing the 3 points for different reasons, it should be a very tight and closely contested game; expect a very low-scoring game (unlike the last 2).

Likely Line-Up;

Stockdale;

Bruno, Goldson, Dunk, Calderon;

La Parra, Kayal, Stephens, Murphy;

Zamora, Hemed;

 

Prediction;

Brighton 1-0 Ipswich

BFC v BHAFC (26/12/15) | Review

As the first-half of a sensational first part of the season drew to a close, Brighton finished it off with a draw away at Brentford. It can be said that Brighton were lucky to walk away with a point, and  quite true, Brentford dominated large parts of the game, and only David Stockdale prevented them taking the 3 points. Whether Brighton still have a hangover from their first defeat against Middlesbrough remains to be seen, but they were 2nd best from start to finish on Saturday.

The game started quite cagey, as you would expect with both teams desperate for the 3 points for different reasons; Brentford to go into the play-offs and Brighton to bounce back from their first defeat of the season. Brentford dominated the possession for a majority of the first half, but they did struggle to create any openings in the Albion defence. The Seagulls didn’t help their cause, when they did have the ball, it was given away very cheaply and allowed Brentford to form another attack. Tomer Hemed did, however, have the first clear-cut chance, when he wriggled through the Bees midfield, his curling shot though was saved by David Button comfortably. Chelsea loanee John Swift tried his luck from 25 yards, with his shot having Stockdale scrambling across his goal, but fortunately it was wide of the post. Plenty to think about at half-time for both teams, and Chris Hughton did just that, bringing on Andrew Crofts for James Wilson to bring some stability in midfield, after Brentford playmaker Alan Judge had free-roam in the first half. Jamie Murphy had a glorious chance to put Brighton in the lead; a flick on from Dale Stephens to Beram Kayal, allowed him to drive at the defence, before playing in Murphy, but his shot went over and wide, much to the dismay of Hughton and the Albion fans. Brentford’s corner routines were causing Brighton problems in the first period, and it continued in the second half; Ryan Woods saw his shot from one of the routines graze the bar. Judge was causing problems all over the pitch; he managed to break 3 tackles down the right wing before his cross-shot was tipped over by Stockdale. Judge, at the centre of the creation again, crossed a wonderful ball into the box, Philipp Hoffman’s header was incredibly saved by Stockdale, much to the shock of the player and the fans behind the goal, who were certain it had gone in. Judge had one last chance for the Bees, after the ball ricocheted around the edge of the box, Judge’s curling shot was tipped around the post from the out-stretched Stockdale. Brighton did have a penalty appeal late on after James Tarowski appeared to pull down Elvis Manu, but nothing given from the referee Darren Deadman; it was probably the right decision, although Deadman had got countless wrong during the game. The game finished 0-0, and Brighton would of been relived to gain a point at a ground, they have been quite poor at.

Line-Up;

Stockdale (9); What can I say, once again he is the difference between 1 point and no points. 3 crucial saves at the death from Judge twice and Hoffman, meant that the Seagulls did go away with something.

Bruno (6); Struggled to get forward as much as he would of liked to with Sergi Canos causing him problems. Had a bit more time to go forward in the second half, but was restricted to defensive work.

Greer (7); Some say he isn’t up to scratch, and although I agree to some extent, he does what needs to be done well; he may be slow and can be beaten far too easily, but he reads the game well and isn’t afraid to ‘get dirty’ for the cause. Shame he got injured, which only leaves Hughton with 5 fully fit defenders for Tuesday’s game with Ipswich.

Dunk (6); Back after suspension, and did well keeping Lassa Vibe quiet, had some heart-in-mouth moments with his passing, but nothing to cause too much concern.

Calderon (6); Like Bruno, he struggled to get forward, if at all, after being given the tough job of marking Judge. He did it well though, he did stop him from creating chances, but he did leave him at times when he managed to drift infield to produce what he is good at.

La Parra (5); Jake Bidwell had him beat more often that not, and found it hard to create anything with him constantly breathing down his neck.

Kayal (7); Restricted in the first half with the poor performance of the team, but did show why his one of the best league midfielders this season in the second; produced some nice passes which opened up the defence, and should of had an assist to his name with the ball to Murphy.

Stephens (6); Like his midfield partner, hard to find anything with the ball keep being returned to Brentford, but with the introduction of Crofts he managed to get the ball down and play some passes forward.

Murphy (6); Should he of scored? I think so, but it is a hard technique when coming on to the ball first time. Other than that, a good game from the Scot, Nico Yennaris didn’t know what to do with him at times, which allowed him to get into attacking positions.

Hemed (6); Had his shot easily saved in the first, but hardly noticed in the second, which probably resulted in him coming off. I still think he is better coming off the bench.

Wilson (5); The most quietest first half I have seem him play; it was almost like he wasn’t on the pitch, no chances or shots, whether that was because Brighton didn’t create too many I’m not too sure. Hopefully he will be back with a bang on Tuesday.

Subs;

Crofts (6); Brought on to help the over run midfield, and his presence really was shown; he surd things up defensively and made some neat passes to attacking players,

Manu (5); Brought on to the delight of some of the travelling fans, and changed the game; his pace and hunger for the ball resulted in the 2 centre-backs Tarowski and Dean being more wary of what was going on, although they were helped by the linesman putting up his flag for offside umpteen times.

Goldson (5); Brought on for the injured Greer, and is set to get his first league start with only 5 fully fit defenders now avaliable.

 

Brentford [0]-[0] Brighton;

Att; 12,202 (1,648 Brighton)

MOTM; Stockdale

BFC v BHAFC (26/12/15) | Preview

The final game in the first-half of a tremendous season reaches us, and although Albion tasted defeat for the first time in the league last weekend, there is plenty of positives to take away, not just from the game, but from the season as a whole. They will be looking to restart their unbeaten run again when they take a trip to West London to face Brentford.

Brentford News;

Brentford had a tough start to the season, after their superb first season in the Championship last season, where they made the play-offs. They had only won 2 out of their first 10 games, losing 6; but they have only lost twice in their last 12 games, winning 7. Alan Judge has been their star man again this season, and will be at the centre of attention again, as he looks to add to his 10 goals already. Lasse Vibe has scored 7 as well up top and looks even more dangerous under new manager Dean Smith, who has already coached a team to beat the Albion this season (Walsall in the Capital One Cup). Last season’s form man Jota (ankle) and Josh McEachran (foot) are both on their way back from injuries, but should be included in the matchday 18.Jake Bidwell and David Button have started and finished all 22 games so far.

Brighton News;

Uwe Hunemeier picked up a groin injury in the defeat against Boro last week so Lewis Dunk, fresh from suspension, looks set to partner Gordon Greer again. Sam Baldock and Kazenga LuaLua are both in training, but this game and the game next Tuesday at home to Ipswich are too early for their return; the home game against Wolves next Friday has been ear-marked for their return. Other than the other obvious injuries (Bong, Rosenior and March), Chris Hughton has a full squad at his disposal. Strikers Tomer Hemed, James Wilson and Bobby Zamora will be looking to get back on the score sheet after not scoring for 3,2 and 3 games respectively.

H-2-H;

Brighton’s record against the Bees is split 50/50; played 21 with both teams winning 8 and drawing the other 5. However, Griffin Park hasn’t been the best of places for Brighton; they have only one once there in the league, with that game being in the title winning season of 2011. They have lost 6 times and drawn once in the 8 meetings at Griffin Park, with some of the losing scorelines being 4-0 (twice), 2-0 and the most recent 3-2 last September. The last visit to Griffin Park resulted in a win (2-0); the F.A Cup 3rd Round match back in January, which was Hughton’s first game in charge of the Albion. Based on statistics, it looks like it’s going to be tight and nervy, with both teams needing the 3 points, but it looks as if the points might be shared, although there have been a few goals scored in the games between the 2 sides; 47 goals in the 21 games played.

Likely Line-Up;

Stockdale;

Bruno, Greer, Dunk, Calderon;

La Parra, Kayal, Stephens, Murphy;

Wilson, Zamora;

Prediction;

Brentford 2-2 Brighton

BHAFC Half-Season Survey Results

You guys were asked some questions based on the first half of a fantastic season. Below are the results;

Who has been your Player of the Season thus far?

 

POTS

You overwhelmingly vote for Kayal who, lets face it, has been a revelation so far.

Who has surprised you so far?

 

SPOTS

March has been voted the surprise player of the season, and it’s hard to argue why after the quiet season he had last time.

Best Defender?

DEFENDER

Summer signing Bong has been the best defender so far this season, unlucky to get the injury, but will be welcomed back like a new signing.

Best Midfielder?

MIDFIELDER

Kayal was named best midfielder (no surprises there), but won it by a huge margin, 38 to be exact.

Best Striker?

STRIKER

Zamora takes the prize as best striker. Before the survey this was the hardest to call, but it seems like it wasn’t as close as I certainly thought it was going to be.

Where are Brighton more likely to finish?

POSITION

Look’s like Brighton will be in a play-off place come the end of the season, but according to 3, they won’t even make it to the play-offs and will drop off.

Of the 5 current highest-placed teams, where will they finish?

LEAGUE POSITIONS

Based on the average of the scores, Middlesbrough will finish top, with Derby taking the last automatic promotion place, while Albion finish 3rd followed by Burnley and Hull.

Describe Brighton’s season so far in 1 word

1 WORD DESCRIPTION

These were the 6 most popular words used to describe Brighton’s terrific first-half of the season. Let’s see what they say at the end of the season.

 

Thank you to all who took part in the survey. Hope you all have a Merry Christmas.

BHAFC v MFC (18/12/15) | Review

What can I say, it was fun whilst it lasted, but it was inevitable that the streak was coming to an end, but I don’t think the players or fans were expecting such an below par performance when they finally did taste defeat. Middlesbrough came to The Amex with the determination, not only to inflict the first defeat for the Seagulls, but to sit top of the pile at Christmas. The streak started against Middlesbrough, I guess it was only fitting that it was the same team who ended it.

The game started as you would expect from a top of the table clash; fast and energetic, but it was the away side who started this way, while the home side struggled to find any rhythm in their game, which was punished early on when Albert Adomah was allowed too much space on the left wing, he had the chance to run at Rajiv van La Parra and whip in a cross, it may not of been a good one, but Kike wanted the ball more than his maker Uwe Hunemeier, and headed the ball past David Stockdale to give Boro a 5 minute lead. James Wilson had the chance to equalise when he was put through by Tomer Hemed, but Daniel Ayala distracted him enough for his shot to be blasted over and into row Z of the travelling fans. Middlesbrough extended their lead when a corner from Grant Leadbitter was met by Ayala, his goal-bound header took a deflection off of Adomah wrong-footing Stockdale, to the delight of the away fans and bench. On the basis of play, it wasn’t much more than they deserved. The second half began better for Brighton, but Cristian Stuani had a chance to put the game to bed early on, when his long range effort was parried away by Stockdale for a corner. From the resulting corner, Ayala made a run from the back post and caught the ball sweetly with his right foot, but it was straight at Stockdale, to make it a relatively easy save. Jamie Murphy had a glorious chance to get the Seagulls back in the game, after some smooth passing from Hemed, Inigo Calderon and Beram Kayal on the edge of the Boro box, Murphy was free to have a shot, but his curling shot was punched away by Dimi Konstantopoulos for a corner. Brighton were once again caught out from a set-piece, when another Leadbitter corner crawled through everyone and fell kindly to Kike at the back of the box, his pinpoint cross was met by Stuani at the back post for the easiest of headers, to put the game out of sight. The final whistle was met with cheers from the away end, while the few home fans that had stayed applauded the players on their fine achievement.

Line-Up;

Stockdale (6); Hard day for one of the season’s start performers, had to make some crucial saves, but nothing he could of done for the goals.

Bruno (6); Struggled to contain Adomah, and that allowed Adomah complete freedom down the left. Zonal marking didn’t work to any extent.

Greer (7); One of only a couple of players who actually relatively well, kept going even though they were down and out, and with out some much needed interventions, Boro could of helped themselves to more

Hunemeier (6); Beaten far too easily by Kike for the opening goal, but other than that he had a good game before needing to be replaced due to injury, a list which grows every week.

Calderon (6); Like Bruno, he allowed Stuani complete freedom on the right, he did however do better at stopping any chances being created.

La Parra (6); A quiet game for the winger who had scored 2 in 2, when he did try to get forward George Friend was on task to fizzle it out; was required to do more defending that attacking, and was outwitted by Adomah for the first goal.

Kayal (7); His passing in the first half was no more than dreadful, and he knew it. Second half, a completely different person, chances were being created and he actually managed to pass to a team-mate

Stephens (7); One of the very few stand out performers of the first half, and continued it into the second. If any chances were formed by Brighton, it mostly started or came from Stephens.

Murphy (6); Had a great chance to half the deficit, but his shot was well saved. Might of taken a touch to steady himself instead of taking it first time.

Hemed (5); Pretty quiet from the Israeli, only he pass to Wilson in the first half and his pass to Calderon to set up the Murphy chance were his only real contributions to the game. Some say his better off the bench, and it’s hard to disagree with this performance

Wilson (6); Hard chance to take, but maybe he should of at least hit the target. Other than the chance he was quiet too, but so were all the attacking players

Subs;

Goldson (5); Came on for his first league appearance for the injured Hunemeier, look confident on the ball, but looks as if it will be short lived with Lewis Dunk avaliable once again after his ban.

Zamora (5); Came on to try and regain some pride, but like his fellow strikers, he struggled to make an impact; it was a clinical defensive display from the league’s best defence.

Crofts (5); A puzzling decision to bring on a centre midfielder on for a winger, but Chris Hughton did it anyway. Got control of the ball a lot, but only when Boro were backing off to defend their 3 goal lead

 

Brighton [0]-[3] Middlesbrough; Kike (5), Adomah (44), Stuani (62)

Att; 26,445

MOTM; Stephens

BHAFC v MFC (19/12/15) | Preview

As we finally approach the end of a some what, surprising and entertaining first half of the season, there has been plenty for us to ponder over. Brighton are currently still the only English team to remain undefeated in league football, and are only one of 5 European teams with the same achievement (FC Porto, SP Sporting, Olympiakos and PSG). Given that the Seagulls had an abysmal season last year, and were second-favourites for relegation with some high-street bookies this season, its been a very surprising 21 games thus far. They have picked up valuable points away from home, which they would of lost quite comfortably last season; Burnley, Derby and QPR are just a few names to mention, while making The AMEX back to the fortress it once was under Gus Poyet. After 2 tough away games, Brighton will be looking forward to get back home to continue their excellent run; they ply host to the new Championship leaders Middlesbrough live in front of the Sky cameras.

Middlesbrough News;

Middlesbrough have won 7 of their last 9 games, losing only away to Hull back at the start of November. While they have been dominant at home, they have struggled away from the Riverside, they have only won half their away games (5) and have lost 3 without scoring in any of those games. However, Boro will take great pleasure in that they have kept 5 clean sheets in a row including tough away trips to Ipswich and Huddersfield. David Nugent will not be avaliable for the game due to picking up a red card last Saturday, this will be his 2nd game in his 3 game ban. Rhys Williams (Achilles), Damia Abella (cruciate) and Alex Baptiste (leg) still all remain sidelined. The coup of Stewart Downing at the start of the season was a surprise, but he has impressed on his return to Teeside. Adam Clayton and Grant Leadbitter will be the rocks in the centre of the midfield, they have played in every game so far this season. On-loan Diego Fabrinni and Cristian Stuani have 4 goals each, and will be looking to add to that tally with Nugent suspended.

Brighton News;

Brighton have only won 4 of their last 10 games, however they have won their last 3 home games, 8 overall this season. They haven’t kept a clean sheet in their last 6 games, which will be a concern of Chris Hughton. Lewis Dunk is unavailable after being sent off on Tuesday against QPR, so Uwe Hunemeier is set to rekindle his partnership with Gordon Greer. Sam Baldock and Kazenga LuaLua returned to training this week which is good news.; they might feature next week in the Boxing Day fixture against Brentford. James Wilson, Tomer Hemed and Booby Zamora will all be looking to get on the score sheet once again; they have 13 goals between them.

H-2-H;

In the 8 games played by these 2 teams, Middlesbrough come out on top with 4 wins compared to Brighton’s 2, with 2 draws. Brighton haven’t won against Boro in the last 3 games after winning back-to-back games before. Their current 22 game unbeaten league run did start away to Boro at the end of last season. Brighton have also not won at home against Boro, losing 3 times and drawing once. All the cards seem to be in the hands of the visitors, but as we know The Championship loves to throw up surprises; expect a hard-fought game battled to the end.

Likely Line-Up;

Stockdale;

Bruno, Greer, Hunemeier, Calderon;

La Parra, Kayal, Stephens, Murphy;

Wilson, Hemed;

Prediction;

Brighton 1-1 Middlesbrough

QPRFC v BHAFC (15/12/15) | Review

If you told me at the start of the season that Brighton were unbeaten and joint top in the run up to Christmas, I would properly would of died with laughter, but as the time comes, Brighton are indeed unbeaten in 22 league games and joint-top of The Championship, but it could of been very different last night away to QPR. With Brighton still waiting for their first taste of defeat in the league this season, they travelled to Loftus Road, for what was going to be one of their biggest tests yet. They my of got a draw out of the game, but it could have been more yet it could of been less, that how fine games are in The Championship.

With Charlie Austin re-called to the starting line-up, QPR had their chances of beating Brighton for the first time in 11 years increased, and Austin didn’t waste no time in creating the first chance of the game, when he side-stepped Gordon Greer and hit a low shot towards the right-hand corner, however Stockdale got a big hand to it and turned it around the post for a corner. Matt Phillips was next to try his luck, when a mis-controlled attempt for Jamie Murphy allowed Phillips to have a long-range shot, which was subsequently tipped over by Stockdale. Phillips had another chance when a great cross from Austin was missed by Leroy Fer, but fell to Phillips at the back post, he shot beat Stockdale but not Inigo Calderon on the line. Little chances were made after that and both teams went into half time pondering on how they can do better. As they came out for the second half, Brighton finally found themselves indulged in the game with 2 goals in the first 10 minutes of the half, and in the space of 3 minutes. The first was from a corner, after a long Rajiv van La Parra corner was header back across goal by Lewis Dunk towards Dale Stephens, Stephens overhead kicked it low into the right-hand corner of Rob Green’s goal to give he Seagulls a 1-0 lead. Just as QPR were licking their wounds of letting in a soft first goal, they did the same 3 minutes later when Beram Kayal won a header from a QPR throw in, the ball fell kindly to La Parra, who hit a 30 yard thunderbolt which beat the disparing Green and doubled Albion’s lead. Austin had a chance to half the deficit after he neatly took the ball down before striking a volley towards goal, only for Stockdale to palm the ball away to safety. Austin did however take the next chance that fell his way, when Phillips crossed a low ball into the box, Austin’s initial shot bounced off of Greer, but fell into his path to try his luck again, and blasted it into the roof of the net to give the Hoops some hope in getting back into the game. James Wilson had a great chance to restore the 2-goal lead when some bad defending from Gabriel Angella allowed him to go 1-on-2 with Grant Hall and Green, but as he took his shot he was off balance and went straight into the arms of Green. Fer had the next chance after Hall launched a ball towards the back post, Fer rose higher than Calderon, but his header was wide of the post, when if it was on target would of resulted in a certain goal. The turning point happened next when a stupid tackle, if you can call it that, from Dunk resulted in him being booked for a second time, and him given his marching orders. However, Alejandro Faurlin should of also been sent off for his over the top reaction to the tackle, but got away with just a yellow. Brighton were made to pay for that error, when from a corner, Austin rose higher that everyone to guide the ball into the bottom corner, to level the game once again. Bruno could of been at fault too as he was more interested in holding onto Austin rather that trying to defend the cross. QPR could of done what no team in the last 20 games had done, and beat the Seagulls only if Phillips’s shot, deep into 7 minutes of injury time, had been a post width to the right as it hit the outside of the left post, leaving Stockdale rooted to the spot. The game finished with a point each, but both teams felt that they should of taken all 3 home.

Line-Up;

Stockdale (8); Done so well to keep out Austin twice before, but couldn’t do it for the whole game. Made some terrific saves and would of defiantly breathed a sigh of relief to see Phillips’s shot go wide late on.

Bruno (7); A little quiet at times during the game, but he was defensively very good except for the defending of the corner when Austin got his and QPR’s second.

Greer (8); Some give him a lot of stick, me one of them, but he did very well to restrict Austin at times, he could of had a bag full of chances if Greer hadn’t intervened. Will need the same character on Saturday.

Dunk (5); He will feel he cost his team the 3 points, and he is right, but there is no excuse for the challenge he made; it was dangerous and he knows it. He defiantly let himself and the team down, and now most will wonder if he will regain his place if Greer and Hunemeier can form a formidable partnership.

Calderon (6); Had a tough night marking Phillips, and did well to some extent, but Phillips did get the better of him a lot of the time but that’s mostly down to pace rather that ability.

La Parra (8); 2 in 2 for the on-loan winger, and is certainly making the most of the chance he has been given. He could well be a potential option in the transfer window with the news that Solly March is out for the season. Took his goal well, bit of luck involved in it, but you need some luck at times.

Kayal (7); Like most of the Brighton attacking players he was barely noticed during the first half, but second half he was pivotal just like he has been so far this season, set up La Parra’s goal and had some half-chances himself.

Stephens (8); Scored his first goal for 10 games, it may not of been a Craig Mackail-Smith style overhead kick, but he will still take it. Solid in the second half too, but as like the other attacking players, he was barely noticed.

Murphy (6); Some feel he is inconsistent, has a good game then a bad one, or a bad first half then a good second half, and although I agree to some extent he has been one of the stand out performers of recent weeks, maybe with the imminent return of Kazenga LuaLua he might be feeling for his place.

Hemed (6); Don’t really know what to say about someone that was hardly in the game, although he is vastly improving his running game when chasing balls and defenders.

Wilson (6); Tricky night for the on-loan United striker, only had 1 good chance which he scuffed, but everyone has quiet games, he will be firing again on Saturday I’m sure.

Subs;

Zamora (6); Amazing reception from both home and away fans, including the chant ‘We love Bobby more than you’ ringing from the away end. Not much for him to do especially when QPR are throwing everything to try and get back into the game.

Crofts (6); Came on to sure up the midfield, but made a lot harder when down to 10 men.

Hunemeier (6); Came on to fill the hole that Dunk left, although he wasn’t on for long, he made some vital headers from dangerous crosses.

QPR [2]-[2] Brighton; Austin (65), (88); Stephens (53), La Parra (55)

Att; 15,268 (2,360 Brighton)

MOTM; La Parra

 

 

QPRFC v BHAFC (15/12/15) | Preview

After beating their hosts record with a draw on Saturday away to Derby, the Seagulls will be looking to extend their unbeaten run to 22 games, 21 for the season! The face a QPR side who are still adapting to life under new manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

QPR start striker Charlie Austin has struggled in recent weeks with a calf injury and hasn’t started for the Hoops for over 5 games, but Hasselbaink might give him the chance on Tuesday as he regains his fitness. If Austin isn’t fit enough to start Matt Phillips, who has played every minute of every game this season, is expected to start. Tjaronn Chery and Massimo Luongo has been signalled as QPR’s danger men in midfield, with them scoring 4 between them and setting up 6. Ex Brighton man Grant Hall is set to lead the defensive line in Clint Hill’s absence.

Brighton have Solly March added to their list of growing injury concerns, after the winger went off injured away at Derby. More positive news though, as it seems that Sam Baldock has resumed training earlier than expected and Kazenga LuaLua will be back by the end of the week, still Gaetan Bong and Liam Rosenior are both out until past the New Year. Rajiv van La Parra is poised to make his first Albion start, while Bobby Zamora will be facing his former club for the first time.

H-2-H;

Brighton have come out trumps against QPR in recent games, with QPR not beating the Albion since September 2004. Brighton haven’t lost against QPR in the last 5 meetings (2W, 3D, 0L). The last meeting at Loftus Road back in September 2013 finished 0-0, and we can expect the same low-scoring game again, as QPR don’t ship too many in at home (5 home clean sheets in a row), even back in their Premier League days, however they do score quite a few though with 17 of their 24 goals coming at home, although they have drawn blanks in 3 of their last 5 home games.

Likely Line-Up;

Stockdale;

Bruno, Greer, Dunk, Calderon;

La Parra, Kayal, Stephens, Murphy;

Hemed, Wilson;

Prediction;

QPR 0-0 Brighton