Kazenga LuaLua and the art of dribbling

Fans hope to enjoy more goals and back-flips from LuaLua (Photograph: Paul Hazlewood, BHAFC)
Fans hope to enjoy more goals and back-flips from LuaLua (Photograph: Paul Hazlewood, BHAFC)

I don’t think any Albion fans can complain, in terms of football.

I don’t think any Albion fans can complain, in terms of football, leading into this International break. The Seagulls sit proudly top of the Championship table and remain undefeated.

A few fans and visiting pundits have asked about the secret of the success.

One stand-out player has, of course, been Kazenga LuaLua. The winger has four goals and added a few assists already.

Aside from his celebration, he is quite a unique player.I often ask myself: Why is he is so effective? I think it is usually as you’re never sure what he will do.

He stops, he starts, he dips, and then he bursts. Over the years, I have never really seen a player like him. There have been some great exponents of the art of dribbling. I know you can’t believe I’m not old enough to have seen the wizard of dribble Stanley Matthews or the charismatic George Best.

One of the first I did see was another maverick, Stan Bowles, who sadly was diagnosed this year with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Maradona, dare I say it, wasn’t bad at it, pointedly slicing through England’s midfield and defence. More recently, we have had Giggs, who regularly dazzled with the ball at his feet. Following him at Old Trafford, there was Christiano Ronaldo, with his own brand of attacking play.

There was a time when I thought Barcelona’s tiki-taka football, with short passing and movement, threatened to engulf the whole game. But, thankfully, there still seems to be room for a player who can excite when a player runs at defences with the football caressed by the latest neon boots. Messi is, of course, another who can do both.

In Solly March and now Janie Murphy -we haven’t seen Elvis Manu yet - the Seagulls appear to have their own phalanx of attacking wide men.

March is full of potential and has a wicked left foot, while Murphy has shown he can go either way to wriggle past his opponents.

LuaLua, however, remains the main threat. Seagulls supporters will be hoping that a fifth yellow card and subsequent suspension are some time away. Then they can enjoy more goals and more back-flips across the rest of the season.

The club’s decision to offer him a new long-term deal has been vindicated and under Hughton he seems revitalised. The same could be said for the whole team this season.