Cagey before the break
Not for the first time this season, we saw Albion involved in a tense opening 45 minutes against Newcastle. Both sides had just a few half-chances to break the deadlock, but both defences remained resolute to ensure that it remained goalless at the interval.
This is a positive performance pattern for Brighton, meaning they’ve gone in at the break losing just once this season in all competitions – in the 2-0 defeat at Leicester.
The hard work in the first half paves the way for the likes of Solly March and Anthony Knockaert to attack with freedom and as we saw against West Brom, scoring an early second half goal helps settles the nerves within the Amex.
Brighton have now won back-to-back home league games in the top flight for the first time since November 1982.
Hemed the hitman
The boss has answered a lot of questions from the media in recent weeks regarding Brighton’s supposed lack of attacking options. Tomer Hemed is continuing to prove those doubters wrong, as the Israeli international striker scored his second goal in consecutive home matches.
Albion’s number 10 led the line in style, working tirelessly for the team and not only scoring, but also defending from the front. Hemed won ten aerial duels and even made three clearances in defence before deservedly earning the man-of-the-match award.
March and Knockaert were two of Brighton’s most lively players during Sunday’s fixture, both demonstrating their desire to take players on and deliver dangerous crosses into the box.
Using Hemed as a target man, Albion delivered 13 crosses into the box during the first half alone. The victory over Newcastle would suggest that this could become a successful recipe for Chris Hughton.
Practice makes perfect
The game’s opening goal was a training ground move that was perfectly replicated by three of Albion’s key performers. Pascal Gross’s whipped free-kick was headed back across goal by Dale Stephens before Hemed showed his quality by finishing the move acrobatically.
Stephens admitted after the game that it was something that the players had worked on in training: “We have tried it a few times. I don’t think we can try it again next week, but I’m glad it paid off and it was a big three points for us.”
Long time coming
Brighton’s narrow win over Newcastle ended an unwanted recorded for Albion manager Chris Hughton. The victory was his first as a manager over Newcastle in seven attempts.
The former Magpies boss was pleased with the manor of the performance but played it off as just another three points.
“Newcastle are a good side, we have watched their last three games and they deserved to win them all, they are quite similar to us in the way that they play. They have a bit more pace than us off the front so it was nice to win.”