Six things we learned from Brighton's FA Cup win at Bournemouth
Brighton & Hove Albion progressed into the fourth round of the FA Cup with a 3-1 win at Bournemouth yesterday. Here's six things we learned from the game.
Strength in depth
Despite making eight changes from the 2-2 draw at West Ham in midweek, Albion boss Chris Hughton still named a strong starting line-up.
Jason Steele was the only player to make his debut as the team was packed with Premier League experience. It was a line-up, in fact, which would not have looked out of place had it been a league match.
It just shows the strength in depth of Brighton's squad now and also explains why Hughton is not looking to add many - if any - players during the January transfer window.
With the Seagulls ten points clear of the relegation zone, another FA Cup run like last season could be on the cards if Albion can continue to field strong line-ups - and have a bit of luck along the way.
Victory over the Cherries at last
The Seagulls have not enjoyed much success over Bournemouth in recent seasons and this was their first victory over the Cherries since 2008.
Albion had lost six and drawn four of their previous ten games against Bournemouth since a 3-2 win in League One.
The Cherries won one and drew one of the Premier League games last season, while they also knocked Albion out of the Carabao Cup after extra-time. They also beat Brighton in the top flight at the Vitality Stadium two weeks ago.
This time around, the result never really looked in doubt from the moment Yves Bissouma doubled Brighton's lead with a stunning strike from 25 yards.
Fox in the box
Florin Andone sealed the win for Albion with a real poacher's goal.
The Romanian striker has already showed he has a knack of being in the right place at the right time and is a real handful for opposition defences.
His non-stop running doesn't give them a moment's rest and he is always alert in the penalty area.
Andone's first Albion goal at Huddersfield came after a clever run across a defender, while his next strike in the win over Crystal Palace was a piece of individual brilliance.
His goal at Bournemouth again showed his fox in the box instincts. He was quickest to react to head the ball home after Shane Duffy knocked down Anthony Knockaert's corner.
Rock at the back
Shane Duffy has been outstanding all year and will be right in the running for Albion's player of the season award come May.
The Irishman was dominant at the back as usual as he headed clear several crosses into the box and threw his body in the way to block shots by the Bournemouth strikers.
With Leon Balogun, he limited the amount of efforts which the Cherries were able to get on target.
Duffy has also been a real threat at the other end of the pitch this season and has scored four Premier League goals. He added an assist to his name at the Vitality Stadium when he headed back Anthony Knockaert's corner for Florin Andone to make it 3-1.
The only blot on his copybook this campaign has been the red card for violent conduct in the victory over Crystal Palace. Take that incident away and it's hard to find a fault with how Duffy has performed since the beginning of the season.
On top of his game
Anthony Knockaert was back to his best in the win at Bournemouth as he scored one, set one up and also played a huge part in the third goal.
It was the French winger's first start since the middle of December and he had even been left out of the squad for the match with Everton owing to tactical reasons.
Knockaert scored with a superb strike from 15 yards to give Albion the lead just after the half-hour mark and then played the ball inside for Yves Bissouma to drive forward and make it 2-0.
Knockaert's corner then led to Brighton's third when Shane Duffy headed the ball back for Florin Andone to score.
A change in formation to 4-3-3 might not be as familiar to Knockaert but he showed it's a role he's more than capable of playing at the Vitality Stadium.
Albion will hope for a home tie when the fourth round draw is made on Monday as they will fancy their chances against almost anyone at the Amex.
None of the top sides have had an easy ride at the Seagulls' home this season. Manchester United lost 3-2, Arsenal drew 1-1 when Albion felt they could have won, while Chelsea and Tottenham only claimed 2-1 victories and are the only teams to win at Brighton this season.
The Seagulls have bounced back from three successive defeats with a four-game unbeaten run and will head into their next two matches full of momentum and confidence.
The games do not come much harder, with Liverpool at the Amex and a trip to a rejuvenated Manchester United. With confidence flowing throughout the squad, Albion will hope to spring a surprise or two.
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