'Neal Maupay silenced Crystal Palace' - The FIVE key moments to ignite Graham Potter's flying start with Brighton
As we head into another painfully long international break, Ian Hine gives his top five moments of Albion's Premier League season so far
5 Marc Cucarella & Tariq Lamptey working in tandem
Until his injury midway through last season, Tariq Lamptey was arguably Albion’s best player. His marauding runs down the right wing endeared him to the Brighton faithful and we were never quite the same until the end of the campaign.
The signing of Cucarella from Getafe at the end of August made for a tantalising prospect of not one, but two attack-minded wingbacks in the same team.
We haven’t seen too much of them on the pitch at the same time but against Newcastle United last weekend, there were glimpses of what could be a very exciting remainder of the season.
4 The re-birth of Shane Duffy
The 2019/20 season saw Shane Duffy’s opportunities becoming more and limited, as Adam Webster and Dan Burn vied to partner Lewis Dunk in Graham Potter’s three-man central defence.
The start of the 1920/21 campaign saw Duffy go out on a season-long loan to Celtic, as well as the signing of Joel Veltman from Ajax, pushing the Irishman further down the pecking order.
On his return from Celtic, following a disappointing campaign north of the border, few would have thought that Duffy would be in Graham Potter’s squad, let alone the starting line-up. He has confounded all his critics however, with a string of commanding performances, renewing his productive partnership with Lewis Dunk.
Having missed just one Premier League game since the start of the campaign, Duffy is back with a bang!
3 Leandro Trossard at Brentford
Albion went into the game at newly-promoted Brentford on the back of two wins and a defeat in the first three games. Brentford were unbeaten, with a win and two draws.
Brighton were playing with confidence, despite a defeat against Everton in their last outing, with Leandro Trossard influential in his role alongside Neal Maupay.
The Seagulls took the game to the hosts but with the backing of a vociferous crowd in their new stadium, Brentford were equal to the challenge and the game looked to be heading for a stalemate.
A bold substitution from Graham Potter saw the introduction of Alexis MacAllister and in the 90th minute, his pass found Trossard on the edge of the penalty area.
He skipped past a couple of defenders, before rifling a low shot past the ‘keeper and into the bottom right corner, giving Albion a fine victory.
2 A brilliant fightback at Anfield
Trips to Liverpool are never easy and despite Albion’s good start to the season, we travelled to Anfield hopeful of a good performance rather than a good result.
When the hosts took a 2-0 lead in just 25 minutes, the travelling Seagulls fans began to fear the worst. It could have been a complete first-half disaster, had Liverpool not had a goal chalked off for handball but instead it brought hope, as Enock Mwepo’s looping shot found its way over Alisson in goal to halve the deficit just before the break.
The goal did not prompt a response from Liverpool and instead it was Brighton who took the game to the Reds in the second period. Playing with verve and high intensity, with ex-red Adam Lallana at the heart of everything, it was no surprise when the visitors equalised.
Marc Cucarella fired a pass into the feet of Lallana who slipped in Trossard just inside the box. He danced inside the defender before slotting the ball home.
Not content with a point, Albion continued to press forward and could have taken all three points. The draw was the least we deserved.
1 Neal Maupay in the 95th minute
The two fixtures against Crystal Palace are always the ones most anticipated by fans of both clubs and the first game between the sides came at Selhurst Park.
Albion were in uncharted territory, knowing that a win would take them top of the Premier League. Patrick Viera’s side were beginning to show signs that his methods were working and it proved to be a fascinating encounter. Palace were much more dynamic in the first half, with Conor Gallagher influential in midfield.
It was his burst into the penalty area at the very end of the half, that drew a lazy foul from Leandro Trossard.
The resultant penalty was converted by Wilfried Zaha. The second half saw Albion switch to a back four in an attempt to force the pace of the game but Palace remained comfortable and should have put the game beyond the Seagulls, Jordan Ayew somehow screwing his shot wide.
The game ticked into injury time and when Palace keeper Guaita made a meal of an ariel challenge, it gave Albion a few more precious seconds.
The goal-kick was volleyed straight back by Joel Veltman and Neal Maupay pounced on some hesitancy in the Palace defence, before lifting the ball over Guaita’s head and into the net, before wheeling away to celebrate in front of the jubilant Albion fans.
We missed the chance to go top, but robbing our closest rivals of a victory in the 95th minute more than made up for that.