Crystal Palace is perfect time for Neal Maupay to end six match lean spell

Sports reporter Sam Cox assesses the contribution of Albion's leading scorer Neal Maupay ahead of Monday's Premier League clash against old rivals Crystal Palace

Monday, 22nd February 2021, 11:18 am
Neal Maupay last hit the target during the the 1-0 win at Leeds on January 16

After a run of six matches without a goal, Neal Maupay will be looking to end his drought against, rivals, Crystal Palace this Monday.

The former Brentford striker’s last goal in the blue and white of Brighton came in the impressive 1-0 victory over Leeds United last month.

Luckily for the Seagull’s, Maupay’s lack of goals hasn’t hindered the club as Graham Potter’s side are enjoying a six-match unbeaten Premier League run.

Perhaps he would have broken his duck against Aston Villa had it not have been for the inspired form of the Villain’s Emiliano Martinez who made a string of impressive saves to keep Albion at bay last time out.

In the 0-0 draw at the AMEX, Maupay registered three shots at goal and made two key passes; proving he’s more influential than his current goalscoring tally suggests.

The 24-year-old is crucial to Potter’s tactical set-up due to the pace he possesses. Maupay is able to lead the press which forces opposition players into Brighton’s ‘trap’ to win the ball back while encouraging uncharacteristic mistakes.

Evidence of this was seen against Leeds and Villa, as both teams like to pass from the back. Maupay’s consistent pressure on both backlines prevented them from playing this way, with Villa boss Dean Smith describing his team’s performance on the south coast as ‘not even bang average.’

So far this season, Maupay has netted seven goals in 22 league appearances which is only three away from his tally of 10 throughout the entirety of the 2019/20 campaign.

The striker’s xG suggests he’s being wasteful in front of goal, though. His current average xG across the Premier League season so far is 10.33 goals, while his xA is also only slightly higher than his recorded statistics.

Maupay has registered one assist this season, while his average xA is 2.23. At face value this may show that he’s not being as ruthless as he should be in the final third, however, it also shows that he’s still active inside the box and chances are still falling at his feet.

Across this unprecedented season of football, matches have seemingly been shoehorned in to fulfil fixtures postponed for a variety of reasons. As a result, players have rarely been able to have a full week of training, which has seriously impacted match sharpness as the majority of sessions have had to be recuperation.

Neal Maupay celebrates his goal at Crystal Palace last season

For one of the few times this season, many Premier League clubs have a full week of training before their next match. As previously mentioned the Seagull’s next face, old rivals, Crystal Palace on Monday.

This will not only help Maupay, but the entirety of Albion’s squad. By entering a fixture fit and fresh for the first time in a while may give him the much-needed boost to find the back of the net.

If Maupay’s barren spell extends of Monday, head coach Graham Potter does have a few options. Albion have an in-form squad with players who can help in the goalscoring department, including Alexis Mac Allister, Leandro Trossard, Adam Lallana, and Danny Welbeck, who returned from injury against Burnely and Aston Villa recently.

Every top striker in the league has struggled at some point this season for a variety of reasons, and all will be forgotten if Maupay scores the winner against the Eagles.