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The Media Review: Leeds United

The papers give their verdict on Albion's victory over Leeds.

By Nick Szczepanik • 02 May 2021

By Paul Hazlewood
Danny Welbeck celebrates his superb strike against Leeds United.

Now that Albion have almost guaranteed another season in the Premier League, we can all look back at a campaign that should have produced better results, had moments when things threatened to go wrong, and ended up all right in the end. A bit like Saturday's vital 2-0 home win over Leeds United, in fact.

It was a similarity that was not lost on some of the Sunday papers' reporters at the Amex. Duncan Wright of the Sun on Sunday, for instance. He wrote that “Brighton all but secured Premier League survival for another year – but did it in the way only they can.

“Graham Potter's men have been shocking in front of goal all season and this was no different, even though they eventually proved too good for a below-par Leeds.

“Time and again Potter watched in sheer frustration as his players blew chance after chance to bury Leeds with a second after Pascal Gross had opened the scoring with an early penalty.

“This season has seen the Seagulls being made to pay for such wastefulness as they threw away point after point.

02:15

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Welbeck: Still work to do

“But finally they were able to get the job done as Danny Welbeck produced a moment of magic to score the nerve-settling second - and ensure even Brighton could not throw this one away.

“The win means West Brom are realistically no longer a threat, and barring a miracle run of results from Fulham the Seagulls will not be caught.

“But next season Potter is going to have to find a cutting edge for his team, because they cannot keep getting away with their poor finishing.”

The Sunday Times clearly thought along similar lines, their reporter writing that “pundits and rival managers alike have lined up throughout the season to praise Brighton's football and claim that they should be nowhere near the Premier League's bottom three. Yesterday Graham Potter’s men took a vital step of their own towards proving them all correct with a well-deserved victory over a disappointing Leeds United. 

“Of course, being Brighton, they managed to miss a netful of chances between Pascal Gross' early penalty and a skilfully-executed late clincher by Danny Welbeck, which capped a high-quailty performance from the former England forward. But the three points have surely relieved any remaining relegation pressure on Graham Potter's men, taking them up to 14th place and further damaging the slim survival prospects of Fulham and West Bromwich Albion.”

Lewis Steele of the Mail on Sunday continued the theme. “Playing a team off the park, missing plenty of chances and failing to see out results - that has been the theme of the season for Graham Potter's Brighton.

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Potter hails big victory

“But the Seagulls broke that trend on Saturday to all but guarantee survival with a 2-0 win, making Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds look damningly average in the process.

“Pascal Gross put Albion ahead with an early penalty and Danny Welbeck added a late second after a beautiful Cruyff turn to confirm the three points that took Potter's men 10 points clear of 18th-placed Fulham.

“They played slick, one-touch passing and pulled Leeds apart at will, while they showed steel to record a seventh home clean sheet this season - bettered only by Manchester City and Chelsea.

“The two-goal scoreline flattered Bielsa. Brighton really should have scored more but for wasteful finishing. They will care little now - this win means their top-flight status for a club-record fifth successive season is all but guaranteed.”

Harry Pratt, writing for the Mirror titles, led on a different theme - Albion's star performer: “Danny Welbeck produced a vintage performance to all but ensure Brighton will be among the English elite for a fifth successive season,” he wrote.

“After winning the hosts' first-half penalty, the England striker then wrapped up this vital third home victory of the season with a sensational late solo strike.

“All of which was enough to fire the Seagulls TEN points clear of the danger zone - for a couple of hours at least.

“Brighton boss Graham Potter later hailed his free summer signing from Watford, who now has five league goals - and revealed he would like him to extend his stay on the South Coast.

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Gross: Danny's goal was different class

 

“The Amex chief beamed: ‘It was a brilliant turn and fantastic finish. Danny's goals per minute this season has been a good return. The key is keeping him out on the pitch.

“’He brings great personality to the place - and we want to keep him. But we will discuss that at the end of the season.’

“If Leeds were in good form on their arrival, Potter's troops were definitely not after their loss at relegated Sheffield United. Yet it was they who made the brighter start and, following a number of long range efforts, deservedly broke the deadlock. Leeds left back Ezgjan Alioski got in a tangle as he challenged Welbeck and eventually hauled down the ex-Manchester United ace.

“Referee Chris Kavanagh pointed to the spot and Pascal Gross stepped up to fire low and hard into the bottom corner. That was Brighton's first goal in six hours. Yet rather than give them a lift, it briefly sparked a response from Leeds.”

At this point we will spare you the various papers' re-runs of the missed chances and a couple of near things for Leeds and fast forward to the best moment of the match. Ed Elliott of the Press Association described it for the Observer: “Albion fans were eventually able to breathe a collective sigh of relief just before the contest entered the final 10 minutes courtesy of Welbeck's moment of magic.

“Struijk hoisted a clearance into the air and, as he went to close down the loose ball, Welbeck expertly whipped it away from him with a deft touch before smashing low across goal into the far corner to claim his fifth strike of the season.

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Extended PL Highlights: Albion 2 Leeds 0

“Albion's welcome victory was a first in five games and prolonged Leeds' 12-year wait for success in Brighton.”

Tom Prentki noted in the Sunday Telegraph that “in theory this should have been a tight contest for football purists: two teams easy on the eye; two managers renowned for their tactical ingenuity.

“In practice, it was much more simple. Brighton were too good for Leeds on the day. They led early and never looked back which, as any Albion fan will tell you, is not the usual pattern of things.

“Though Brighton impressed as a team, Danny Welbeck had been the game's outstanding performer and he sealed victory with a wonderful Cruyff turn and shot into the bottom corner after Pascal Struijk had failed to clear convincingly for the second goal.

“Welbeck's future beyond the end of this season is uncertain but Potter made it clear that he would like the former Watford striker to extend his stay in East Sussex.

“’The intention is there but the most important thing at the moment is that we finish off the season as strongly as we can. We'll sit down with him and talk about the future but for now it's about getting the points that we need,’ he said.”

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