Six things we learned from Brighton's win against West Ham
Brighton picked up a crucial three points with a 3-1 victory against West Ham this afternoon. Here's six things we learned from the game.
That's more like it
Everyone knew the importance of this period of the season and Albion have now collected four points from two matches, with two more huge games to come.
There was disappointment from some fans at Albion's performance in Wednesday's 1-1 draw at Southampton - some supporters questioned whether the team should have had more of a go at the Saints.
However, that draw now looks a very good point on the back of this afternoon's 3-1 win over West Ham, which lifted Albion to 13th in the Premier League.
There was a buzz among the Brighton players after the game and they'll go into the matches with Stoke and Swansea full of confidence.
While the players did their job on the pitch, the fans also did theirs off it. The atmosphere inside the Amex was up their with the best it's been this season.
Glenn Murray's early goal helped matters but the final half-an-hour was as loud as the Amex has been this season. Jose Izquierdo's stunning strike raised the roof and when Pascal Gross got the third, the stadium became a cauldron of noise as Albion recorded just a second league win in 15 games.
There had been talk since the summer about Albion's need for another striker but Glenn Murray today netted his tenth goal of the season.
The 34-year-old striker has done an excellent job up top for the Seagulls this season and has scored ten of their 25 goals in all competitions.
The Seagulls have relied heavily on him, particularly in the first half of the season, after deadline day moves for Vincent Janssen and Florin Andone fell through. With Sam Baldock also out injured at the beginning of the year, Albion had just two strikers in Murray and Hemed for much of the campaign.
The arrivals of Jurgen Locadia and Leonardo Ulloa in January will help ease the burden and also provide more competition for the forward positions.
Murray has now scored in three successive matches for the second time this season, after netting against West Ham, Southampton and Swansea in consecutive games in October and November.
His eight-goal return is also his best in a single Premier League season.
Referee Roger East made an excellent call to allow play to carry on for Albion's opening goal but should the Seagulls have been awarded a penalty to make it 2-0 later in the first half?
East waved play on after a foul on Anthony Knockaert and Pascal Gross then played Glenn Murray through to score. It was a smart piece of officiating by the referee.
But on 27 minutes, Albion had a huge penalty appeal. Knockaert met Gaetan Bong's low cross and his goalbound shot was blocked by the arm of Angelo Ogbonna.
The ball was shot against Ogbonna from only a couple of yards and it may have been harsh against the Hammers but you've seen spot-kicks given for incidents like that.
Just three minutes later, West Ham were level as Javier Hernandez rifled home from 15 yards after a neat passing move.
The Hammers players called for a penalty themselves in the second half when a free kick hit Shane Duffy but East turned down their appeals.
Earlier in the game, Aaron Cresswell and Knockaert clashed in the penalty area, with Cresswell going to ground after a push by the Albion winger but no action was taken by East.
Another Jose goal of the season contender
Brighton's Columbian winger Jose Izquierdo scored a quite stunning goal to give Albion a 2-1 lead.
Izquierdo netted his first Brighton goal in the reverse fixture at the London Stadium when he cut in from the left and fired a shot into the top corner despite Hammer keeper Joe Hart getting a hand to the ball.
Today, Adrian - in goal for West Ham - didn't stand a chance. A Brighton corner reached Izquierdo on the edge of the penalty area on the far side, he cut inside an curled an effort into the far top corner.
He sprinted away to celebrate, swirling his shirt above his head as his team-mates, including keeper Mathew Ryan, raced to catch him.
It was Izquierdo's third goal for the club and could prove the most important as it helped Albion to a crucial three points and lifted them up to 13th in the Premier League table.
Back on top form
No one can ever fault Pascal Gross' work-rate but things hadn't quite been going for the German playmaker in the past few weeks.
He scored three goals and provided five assists in Albion's opening 12 matches but had scored just once in his past 13 matches.
Today, he got an assist and a goal to his name in an impressive showing.
Gross played through Glenn Muray with an inch perfect through ball to score Brighton's early opener, before he smashed home the third with a superb finish to seal all three points with 15 minutes to go.
Hammers striker Javier Hernandez had a moment to forget shortly after his equaliser.
A throw-in was sent to the Mexican international on the halfway line but as he looked to hook the ball on, he smashed it into his own face.
It's something you'd normally see on a parks pitch on a Sunday morning and brought much hilarity to the Albion supporters.
Hernandez was treated on the pitch for a minute or so, before returning to the action.
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