Albion returned to winning ways with a thumping 5-2 win over Leicester City in a thriller in the Amex sunshine.
Some of the football Albion played, particularly in the second half, was as good as anything we’ve produced in the Premier League era as we scored three times and could have had several more goals.
Bottom of the table Leicester had stunned us by going in front after 55 seconds through Kelechi Iheanacho, but Luke Thomas deflected Solly March’s header into his own net before Moises Caicedo lashed home his second Albion goal, with only 15 minutes on the clock.
Patson Daka levelled in the 33rd minute but Albion took complete control in the second half. Alexis Mac Allister had a 25-yard screamer controversially disallowed after a lengthy VAR check but two goals in six minutes by Leandro Trossard and Mac Allister, with his third successive penalty of the season, made it 4-2 with 20 minutes to go.
There was still time for the Argentinian to produce the pièce de resistance, a sensational free kick into the top corner in the last minute of stoppage time.
Graham Potter made one change to the side beaten by Fulham on Tuesday with Danny Welbeck returning and Pervis Estupinan dropping to a bench which also included deadline-day signing Billy Gilmour.
There was a shock for the Amex faithful when Leicester took the lead after just 55 seconds.
March was dispossessed on the left by Youri Tielmans then Harvey Barnes found Patson Daka in space and his ball across the face of goal was tapped in by the unmarked Ihenacho from six yards.
Albion’s response was swift and impressive.
March had already seen his low drive deflected off target by Welbeck when the wide man made it 1-1 in the tenth minute. Pascal Gross’s cross-field pass found Trossard in space on the left and his cross to the back post was met firmly by March’s head, the ball going in off Thomas’s arm.
There was more to come as Albion took a 15th-minute lead. James Maddison’s pass was cut out by Enock Mwepu who surged at the heart of the Leicester defence before laying the ball off to his right to Caicedo and he fired powerfully across Danny Ward and into the far corner.
Leicester nearly gifted Albion another goal in the 29th minute. Wilfred Ndidi was put under pressure by Ward’s pass and Welbeck nipped in but chipped the ball onto the roof of the net with the keeper scrambling to get back. There was a furious exchange between the two Leicester players but after 33 minutes they were surprisingly level.
It was a poor goal for Albion to concede. Tielemans hit a 45-yard pass down the middle from deep in his own half and Lewis Dunk couldn’t stretch enough to cut it out, allowing Daka to pick his spot from 15 yards and make it 2-2.
Back came Albion and Ward unconvincingly tipped Gross’s in-swinging corner over the bar before Rob Sanchez, who’d had little to do until then apart from pick the ball out of the net twice, made a great reflex save to block Barnes’s shot after Trossard inadvertently played the ball into his path.
There was still time before the end of a breathless first half for Albion to create another opportunity. Gross followed a lovely piece of skill by finding Trossard on the left and he hung up another far-post cross which March headed into the side netting.
Albion thought they had restored their advantage two minutes after the break. Gross’s free kick was only cleared to Mac Allister 25 yards out and he thumped an unstoppable right-foot shot into the top left-hand corner. Then VAR intervened and, after an interminable four-minute delay, referee Harrington ruled it out for offside after looking at the incident on the pitch-side monitor, Mwepu having had a swing at the ball when the free-kick was played in.
With substitute Timothy Castagne giving Leicester an extra body in midfield, Albion were not enjoying the space they had in the first half but they went close again in the 61st minute when Mwepu beat the offside trap to latch onto Trossard’s pass but instead of pulling the ball back he went for the near post and Ward blocked his shot.
No matter. Three minutes later it was 3-2. Veltman and Mac Allister combined to find Gross and his pass was swept home confidently by Trossard from the left-hand corner of the six-yard box. This time there was no need for a VAR check.
Well, that was eventful. 😅— Brighton & Hove Albion (@OfficialBHAFC) September 4, 2022
Daka nearly responded straight away but shot wide of the right-hand upright before Ward pulled off a great save to push out March’s shot after he’d been found in space by Gross.
But Albion did get their fourth goal on 70 minutes. Trossard did brilliantly on the by-line to skip past Wilfred Ndidi and when the defender hacked him down the referee immediately pointed to the spot and Mac Allister put it straight down the middle as Ward dived to his right.
The only question now was how many more goals Albion would score. Ward made two terrific saves to deny Gross and then denied man of the match March before we rounded off a stunning performance with a cracking fifth deep into stoppage time, when Mac Allister stepped up and curled a fantastic right-foot free kick from 25 yards into the top corner to make it 5-2.
A tally of 35 shots and 11 on target summed up a sensational attacking display by Albion, who head to Bournemouth on Saturday looking to maintain their impressive start to the campaign.
Albion: Sanchez, Veltman, Dunk, Webster, Mac Allister, Trossard (Estupinan 89), Mwepu (Undav 83), Caicedo (Gilmour 90+2), Gross, March (Lamptey 90+3), Welbeck.
Subs not used: Steele, Colwill, Alzate, Mitoma, van Hecke.
Referee: Tony Harrington