Six things we learned from Brighton & Hove Albion v Southampton
Brighton are still looking over their shoulder after losing at home to Southampton in the Premier League yesterday. Here's six things we learned from the game.
Too slow to get going?
One criticism from Albion fans after the game was it took Southampton's goal for Brighton to get going and show more attacking urgency.
Chances were few and far between at both ends throughout the 90 minutes and Albion had just one shot on target, while the Saints had only two.
After Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg's goal early in the second half, Albion pressed for an equaliser and had a few half-chances to snatch a point.
Brighton huffed and puffed and Lewis Dunk headed over when unmarked, Martin Montoya crashed a shot against the bar, Davy Propper had penalty appeals waved away and Jurgen Locadia had a low shot saved.
However Albion were unable to create any clear chances as Southampton defended superbly to move level on points with the Seagulls and five points clear of the relegation zone.
Another poor goal to concede
Brighton midfielder Yves Bissouma lost possession near the halfway line and within seconds the ball was in the back of Albion's net.
Nathan Redmond, who was a nuisance to Albion throughout, broke quickly and slipped a lovely through ball to Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg who kept his composure to coolly slot the ball home.
It was another soft goal for Brighton to concede and was similar to the poor goals they conceded when they lost 3-1 at home to Burnley earlier this year.
Gunn's comfortable afternoon
Southampton keeper Angus Gunn had just one save to make as he had a more comfortable afternoon than he probably expected.
Gunn was only called into action to keep out Jurgen Locadia's low shot late on and he also claimed a few crosses but the central defensive partnership of Jan Bednarek and Maya Yoshida restricted Albion's opportunities.
Brighton had 60 per cent of the possession and had numerous opportunities to get the ball into the box from free kicks and corners but failed to add to their impressive goal tally from set-pieces this season.
A difficult day for Albion's widemen
Brighton boss Chris Hughton has plenty of options out wide but yesterday was not a day his wingers will remember fondly.
There was no lack of effort or endeavour from Anthony Knockaert, Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Solly March but it was one of those days where things just did not come off.
Jahanbakhsh got in some dangerous positions down the left in the first half but had little joy and was replaced by March just past the hour but Albion's winger was marshalled well by Yan Valery.
Ryan Bertrand also dealt well with Knockaert as the Seagulls struggled to get many crosses in for frontman Glenn Murray.
With Jose Izquierdo closing on a return to full fitness and Jurgen Locadia also coming off the bench yesterday, Hughton has the options to keep all of his wingers on their toes for the remainder of the season.
Cup semi-final not on the players' minds
A couple of Albion players and manager Chris Hughton insisted afterwards that the FA Cup semi-final with Manchester City next weekend was not on their minds yesterday.
Hughton said in the build-up to the match that the FA Cup is not a distraction as the game has not been spoken about.
He added all the Seagulls' focus was on Southampton and they will now look ahead to Wednesday's game with Chelsea before thinking about the clash with City.
It was a flat performance against the Saints and whatever the result Albion will look to produce a decent showing against Chelsea to take into their clash at Wembley with Manchester City.
Still work to do
Victory over Southampton would have taken Albion to the verge of Premier League safety but now they still have work to do.
They remain five points ahead of third-from-bottom Cardiff but Southampton and Burnley have both moved level on points with Brighton.
Cardiff host Chelsea tomorrow and then travel to Manchester City on Wednesday, so Seagulls supporters will hope the Bluebirds do not cause any shocks.
Albion still have home games to come against Bournemouth, Cardiff and Newcastle and six points from those three games should be enough to seal a third successive season in the Premier League.
HAVE YOU READ?