- Albion finish 2019 with deserved 2-0 win over Bournemouth
- Alireza Jahanbakhsh scores Albion’s quickest Premier League goal on first league start of the season
- Man of the match Aaron Mooy seals three points in the second half
- Seagulls climb to 13th ahead of later kick-offs
It was a record-breaking afternoon for the Seagulls in more ways than one. Alireza Jahanbakhsh celebrated his first league start of the season by scoring Albion’s quickest goal in the Premier League after just two minutes, 29 seconds.
The Seagulls dominated the second half with Yves Bissouma hitting the post and Dan Burn denied a goal by VAR, before the irrepressible Aaron Mooy, whose tireless midfield display epitomised Albion’s high-intensity performance, scored the second with 12 minutes to go – his first of the campaign too.
It was Albion’s first league win in 11 attempts against the Cherries, and one of their best displays of the season to date. They can now look forward with renewed confidence to Chelsea’s visit on New Year’s Day.
As anticipated, Graham Potter had rung in the changes for the second game in 48 hours. Only Maty Ryan, Burn, Shane Duffy and Mooy kept their places from the team which played Tottenham Hotspur. Fit-again Lewis Dunk, top scorer Neal Maupay, Leandro Trossard, Bissouma, Martin Montoya, Davy Propper and Jahanbakhsh all came into the team, with Jahanbakhsh making his first Premier League start of the season.
It took less than three minutes for Jahanbakhsh to make an impact. Propper won the ball on the edge of his own box and through Mooy and Maupay, Albion swept quickly upfield. Jahanbakhsh received the ball on the left-hand corner of the box and lashed a right-foot shot past Aaron Ramsdale into the far corner before an emotional celebration. It was only the third Premier League goal scored by an Iranian.
It was a perfect start, and Maupay twice fired just off target as Albion dominated the early stages, although they had a scare when Josh King found space, but Ryan denied him with a one-handed save.
The energetic Mooy was once again instrumental in a lot of Albion’s best moments and when the visitors did threaten, it only came after Albion twice gave the ball away and it needed important interceptions by first Burn and then Dunk to avert the danger.
Ryan made a comfortable save to keep out Junior Stanislas’s shot, but every time they went forward Albion look threatening, as Jahanbakhsh and Trossard looked dangerous on both flanks, while Maupay caused Bournemouth problems with his pace and movement.
The start of the second half was littered with free kicks and the game began to get stretched, but Albion thought they had the cushion of a second goal on 58 minutes when Burn swivelled in the box, after Bournemouth failed to clear Mooy’s free kick, and volleyed home. But after a lengthy delay VAR ruled the defender had strayed an elbow’s width offside.
Albion weren’t thrown off their stride. Mooy was inches away from scoring with a right-foot drive that flew past the left-hand post, and Bissouma went even closer in the 63rd minute with a low strike that came back off the post after he had surged at the Cherries’ defence.
Bournemouth began to commit more men forward and manager Eddie Howe had thrown on three subs by the 72nd minute, but his side still hadn’t had a shot on target in the second half.
And the second goal Albion deserved arrived with 12 minutes to go. Trossard lifted the ball into the box from the left and Mooy adjusted his feet, kept his composure before steering a right-foot shot past Ramsdale for a goal he richly deserved.
Bournemouth had to finish the game with ten men after Jack Stacey limped off with three subs used, before Jahanbakhsh and Mooy came off to standing ovations and were replaced by Stephens and Alzate. Glenn Murray replaced Bissouma late on and forced a full-stretch save by Ramsdale as Albion ended the game as they had started it – in control.
ALBION: Ryan; Montoya, Dunk, Duffy, Burn; Propper; Jahanbakhsh (Alzate 84), Mooy (Stephens 84), Bissouma (Murray 87), Trossard; Maupay.
SUBS NOT USED: Button (GK), Gross, Webster, Bernardo.