Evergreen Murray off the mark
For a man who certainly knows where the goal is, it’s hard to believe that before Friday night, Glenn Murray was in search of a first kind of goal, his first in the Premier League for Brighton.
Albion's number 17 spoke pre-match about his desire to get off the mark, and invited his teammates to get down the wings and get some crosses in the box.
In the 10th minute, Murray peeled away from his marker and met an inviting free-kick from Pascal Gross with a glancing header that beat Joe Hart to send the travelling Seagulls into jubilation.
The 34-year old grabbed his second from the penalty spot in the 75th minute after he was brought down by Pablo Zabaleta to cap a fine personal and team performance.
It’s not the first time Murray has fired a brace against the Hammers, he was on target twice for Crystal Palace in a 1-3 win at Upton Park back in February 2015.
Brave Brighton beat the first-half fever
Before Friday, Brighton had only scored one Premier League goal in the first half of a game, meaning that 80% of their five goals had come after the interval. Chris Hughton would have been delighted that his side beat the first half fever to lead 0-2 at the break thanks to Murray’s header and Jose Izquierdo’s stunning strike, which put them in firm control of the game.
Dunk and Duffy duo dependable yet again
Jamie Carragher declared his admiration for the partnership of Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy to their manager before kick-off and they both turned in yet another superb performance to earn a clean sheet. Heading every ball and marshalling a stable defence that provided the platform for the midfielders to control the game and forwards to attack with freedom.
Two crucial blocks in the first half helped Brighton ride West Ham’s strongest wave of attack, Duffy from Hernandez and Dunk from Reid. If we saw one of them find the net, it would have changed the complexity of the match and we might have been talking about a very different result for the Albion.
Their record together now stands at 37 games played, 21 wins and just 34 goals conceded, proving just how imperative these two are to the success of the team.
Away day blues smashed in style
The manager described his side’s display as “a complete performance” to earn Brighton’s first top flight away win since 1983. There had been some concern that the Albion’s poor form on the road may become a hindrance, but Friday’s win will provide the squad with real belief that they can take points from anybody on the road.
The electric performance was also their biggest away win since the 0-3 victory at Crystal Palace back in 1981.
Pascal Gross continued his impressive start to life in the Premier League with another assist for Murray’s headed opener.
The German has now assisted four goals in his first nine Premier League matches; no player has more in that same period.
Perhaps even more impressively, Gross has created 212 goalscoring opportunities since August 2015, whereas Kevin De Bruyne has been involved in 211 during the same period.