Brighton analysis: Unlikely wing back Andi Zeqiri stakes claim for Newcastle, Lallana and Welbeck class

Ian Hart assesses what went right at St Mary's and how it may galvanise the Albion for another huge match against Newcastle next week

Monday, 15th March 2021, 8:28 am
Andi Zeqiri was introduced as a second half substitute and was a lively presence on the left at Southampton

Though almost certainly not as significant as the result at Edgar Street back in May 1997, perhaps come the final whistle at ‘Game Day 38’ (don’t you just hate yet another Americanism blighting our beautiful game?) the Albion’s fifth away win of the campaign at Southampton could be looked upon as one of the defining moments of the season.

Coming into the South Coast derby on the back of three straight defeats in a five game winless run, and only goal difference keeping the Seagulls out of the relegation zone, Graham Potter’s men arrived at St Mary’s for high noon showdown.

Sections of the vociferous Albion support, myself included, got their wish when Albion's two most experienced squad members, England internationals, Danny Welbeck and Adam Lallana, were both in the starting line up.

However vocal, none of us would even dare to claim an assist, but from the outset the Albion looked like a different side, and had gone close before skipper Lewis Dunk opened the scoring, rising like a salmon to head home Pascal Gross’s corner on 16 minutes.

Then a classic case of same old, same old Brighton. Effectively taking their foot on the gas and inviting their hosts on to them, resulting almost in an air of inevitability when Che Adams equalised just the before the half hour.

The start of the second half saw a different Albion again. Andi Zeqiri, on for the luckless Dan Burn, a revelation down the left hand side, and almost certainly putting himself in the frame for a start against Newcastle next Saturday.

Superb integral football involving Lallana and Welbeck saw Leo Trossard cooly finish off on 57 minutes, and while it was for a time "heart in the mouth" stuff as Southampton pushed hard for the equaliser, Albion held on.

Certainly more positives than negatives, and I think the confidence lacking Neal Maupay will reignite his obvious talent, playing regularly alongside Welbeck for the remainder of the season. I still maintain he has a huge part to play in the Albion’s eventual Premier League survival.

But this is the Albion, nothing is ever that simple. Half way through a pivotal 180 minutes in the space of six days, all the good work from St Mary’s could still be undone next Saturday by a typical Albion Amex performance.

Then again, this excellent showing at St Mary’s could yet galvanise the Albion to all three points next Saturday, and perhaps the most significant of the season.