Brighton & Hove Albion enjoyed their most successful month of the season as the 2017/18 campaign reached February – with the Seagulls going the entire month unbeaten.
It was a run of form that earned Chris Hughton the Barclays Manager of the Month award, with seven Premier League points and an Emirates FA Cup victory to show for the side’s efforts.
A 3-1 win over West Ham United at the Amex Stadium kickstarted what was to be a five-match unbeaten run in all competitions.
Glenn Murray calmly put Albion ahead against David Moyes’ side, before Javier Hernandez levelled the score before the interval.
But two stunning second-half strikes would follow – from Jose Izquierdo and Pascal Gross respectively, the former subsequently winning a nomination for Goal of the Season for the Colombian.
Seven days later Chris Hughton’s side travelled to Stoke City, and Izquierdo made the headlines once more.
The winger rounded off a superb team move that involved exchanges with both Dale Stephens and Solly March, before coolly slotting past Jack Butland in the home goal, much to the delight of the travelling Seagulls contingent behind the goal.
The game saw Xherdan Shaqiri equalise for the home side in the second half, before there was late drama to follow at the end of the contest.
Mathew Ryan saved Charlie Adam’s last-gasp penalty, before Lewis Dunk produced a sublime block to thwart the Scottish midfielder on the rebound in a dramatic game at the bet365 Stadium that eventually ended all square.
A 3-1 victory over Coventry City in the Emirates FA Cup was to follow courtesy of goals from Jurgen Locadia, Connor Goldson and Leonardo Ulloa – the former grabbed his first goal for the club after arriving from PSV Eindhoven in January.
The month ended with another convincing win at the Amex Stadium, as Swansea City were beaten 4-1 by Hughton’s men in an impressive and commanding performance.
A brace from Glenn Murray was added to by Anthony Knockaert, before Locadia notched in back-to-back wins as he grabbed a last-minute fourth to get him off the mark for the club in the Premier League and round off a successful month for the Seagulls.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE MONTH
Jose Izquierdo’s goal against West Ham United at the Amex Stadium would end up winning the club’s ‘Goal of the Season’ award in April, and it was a memorable strike.
The winger picked up possession outside the area after a corner had found its way to the Colombian, and Izquierdo let fly with a stunning effort that looped beyond Adrian in the away goal and into the top corner.
The goal sparked jubilant scenes both on the field and in the stands, as Izquierdo raced back down the field with his team-mates in one of the most memorable moments of celebration from the campaign.
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
Chris Hughton on winning the Manager of the Month award, “It’s a wonderful achievement for the club and a group of players that have improved as the season has gone on.”