So, I’m a regular lurker on a popular Brighton and Hove Albion forum called North Stand Chat where there is currently a lot of panic about the state of the football club. Traditionally, people are always quite pessimistic about Brighton’s chances in any particular match or promotion campaign, but the team sits at the top of the league even after Thursday’s throttling by Huddersfield Town.
Brighton looked quite poor and admittedly haven’t played to the dominant form from earlier in the season in quite some time, but is the time to panic really while on top of the table with a five-point cushion and a game in hand on third? Just look at these people:
“Hope for the playoffs at best”
To miss the playoffs would mean Derby (currently the top team outside the playoff picture) have to make up 14 points over 18 matches (plus a +23 to +9 goal differential). Even if Derby won every remaining match, they’d finish on 88 points. Brighton are currently on pace for more than 98 points.
This was a dumb thing to say.
Maybe taking the piss here.
The notion that Brighton isn’t playing well is somewhat understandable. They haven’t looked amazing like they did at the beginning of the season. It’s been awhile since the Seagulls turned in a performance like the 5-0 dismantling of Norwich City on October 29th or the consecutive 3-0 victories over Rotherham and Nottingham Forest in August, although granted those teams have played horrible all year.
But, here’s the six-game form for the top seven clubs.
- DWWLWW – 13 points – Leeds United
- WDWLWW – 13 points – Huddersfield
- WLLWWW – 12 points – Reading
- WWLWWL – 12 points – Brighton & Hove Albion
- WDLLWW – 10 points – Derby County
- LWLWWD – 10 points – Newcastle United
- DDWLDW – 9 points – Sheffield Wednesday
Are Brighton really performing badly? Two chasing clubs have caught up one point over the last six matches. And Brighton have picked up two points on second-place, just-need-to-show-up-to-be-promoted Newcastle.
I suppose this party dog here is mostly upset with others on the forum as opposed to the club’s performance. But still, the notion that Brighton have “gotten away with more than our fair share of results” is incorrect as well. Just because a club scores a late winner in one game doesn’t mean a game will be stolen from them later. Brighton boasts an excellent back line at full strength, with arguably the two best center backs in the Championship in Dunk and Duffy and a keeper who’s played tremendously this season and particularly over the last few months. There’s a reason teams haven’t scored late goals when they’re on the pitch.
The team looked awful against Huddersfield, true. Brighton couldn’t keep possession at all due to Huddersfield’s constant pressure. The worry could be that other clubs are now aware of how to exploit the Albion.
Maybe, but first, not every club is able to pressure the way Huddersfield did the other night. Huddersfield has a very strong second level of attack including Izzy Brown, Rajiv van La Parra, Elias Kachunga, and Tommy Smith that bothered the Albion’s midfield all night long and was very successful. Most clubs don’t have that talent and take on a huge risk if they can’t steal possession in Brighton’s defending half.
Second, that was not at all Brighton’s best 11 on the pitch. Sam Baldock should be back for the match against Brentford on Sunday. I don’t know if Dale Stephens is hurt or was just resting, but he should be available as well.
(Also, this is a bit tangential, but Solly March should be starting over Jamie Murphy on the left side. Murphy is a defensive liability that was exploited all night by Huddersfield’s Smith and March is more creative with the ball as well.)
Dunk is suspended for Brentford, which is a scary thought. But, my entire point is that people look at a single football match and think they can extrapolate a lot more information than they should. It’s a 46-match season and one or two bad performances does not a crisis make. Brighton will be fine, but I guess the blood pressure of Albion fans is not.