Brighton & Hove Albion

St James’ Park

Premiership

Sunday 20/9/20 @ 2pm

Live on Sky Sports Main Event

This Sunday we welcome Graham Potter’s Seagulls to our fair, but sadly locked down city.

Whilst we swept away the Hammers on Saturday evening, our visitors had to wait another 48 hours before suffering an opening day 1-3 reverse to megabucks Chelsea. It’s of course no disgrace to lose to such a ‘fit & proper’ outfit, but having made a decent fist of the match, Brighton will feel a touch disappointed at literally giving away the first goal and the sloppy nature of the third.

The match also added a couple of major injury concerns for Albion, as highly rated young centre back, Ben White and freebie veteran, Adam Lallana were fettled during proceedings. The former is rated highly doubtful, the latter 50/50 for Sunday’s avian encounter.

However, I’m clearly straying into ‘The Special’ territory here. Therefore, I shall desist and move on to our Champions League placed Mags. If Saturday was a joy to behold, our second string were less fun to watch on Tuesday evening v Blackburn. That said, we will kick off on Sunday having netted three and conceded none. Even more significantly perhaps, is the contribution from the collection of new signings in week one.

The goals were notched by Messrs Wilson, Hendrick and Fraser; whilst debutant Geordie keeper, Gillespie gave a very decent account of himself in the cup match. Add to that, young Jamal Lewis bombing up and down the left flank, linking well with St Max, and I think it’s fair to say that we instantly look a different proposition to last season.

It’s too soon to get carried away, but I also felt that this injection of quality across the park brought out the best in some of our existing squad members. AC looked lean, hungry and clearly revelled in having pace and movement around him. Javier Manquillo enjoyed having the industry of Jeff Hendrick in front of him and Isaac Hayden gave a master class in the midfield shield role. However, it’s one game and West Ham really weren’t are the races. It’s a very encouraging start, which needs to be repeated on a regular basis before we get too excited.

A word on our manager, too. Was it 4-4-2 in London or 4-4-1-1? Either way, apart from 10 minutes when he withdrew a tiring St Max for our continually lumbering number nine, inviting unnecessary pressure on; he got his formation and tactics spot on. We’re quick to complain, so should be equally willing to dole out praise when appropriate.

Prediction prattle.

When Sunday’s combatants were the big boys of the Championship, the fixtures were electric. We witnessed a nail-biter at home as we won 2-0, on a day all of our strikers were missing. The return match on the South Coast, an even tighter affair as we came away 2-1 winners, in a game that saw ‘that’ Diame goal. Since then, the Premiership encounters have been moribund in the extreme. Three goalless, a 1-1 and 1-0’s either way. Dull, dull, dull.

The two sides have laboriously battled their way to survival on three occasions now, and are beginning to look a fair bit stronger for it. I think it’ll be a much livelier affair than recent times, and reckon we’ll have a bit much for them. I see it being hard fought and tight, but for United to come away 2-1 victors. I fancy our number thirteen to figure amongst the goals, too.

Putting six points between us after two games would be very nice indeed. Make it so, lads.

Nick Clark

@Clark5Nick