• Albion 3 - 2 Manchester United, 19.08.2018

    “Can we play you every week? Can we plaa-aaay you, every week?” For the smattering of Manchester United fans still left in the ground a minute into added time, hearing that from fans of (#teamslike)Brighton has really got to hurt. Especially for the (corporate) covert Red sat in front of us, who’d proudly shown his phone to his mate at kick off, announcing that ‘this win’ was going to bring home his £600 acca. What a terrible, terrible shame, for him, that it didn’t work out.

    What a win. What a performance, from Chris Hughton’s men. And Chris Hughton’s men it was, too. Chris Hughton’s trusted line up – ignoring the siren calls for the exotic new signings, or fancy new formations, off the back of a hugely disappointing opener at Watford. This is Chris’ team, and he has more faith in them than a lot of our fans. And how, oh how, they paid him back for it.

    Right from the kick off the Albion showed intent to take this game to their Galactico opponents – harrying anyone in a red shirt who had the temerity to dare have possession of the ball. Hunting in packs – close the man – force a hurried pass – don’t let the next man take a touch – harry – hurry – tackle – we’ll have that, cheers. Brilliant to see, and the fans responded to it, in great voice.

    Dale Stephens and (super) Davy Prӧpper giving absolutely no time to their opponents, breaking up any fluency United tried to gain. And not just those two – Pascal Groß and Glenn Murray defending from the front, Solly March (has he been in the gym?) joining in, and most especially Anthony Knockaert – an absolute terrier on the day. Fantastic stuff.

    A set-back early on though – skipper Lewis Dunk turning his ankle in the process of miscontrolling and gifting the ball to Pogba. The ball was fed to Lukaku who dragged wide wastefully. Dunk tried to play on, but limped off shortly after. Time for Leon Balogun to step up and show us what he’s got. And we were not to be disappointed – what a debut from the young man. Strong, calm and quick across the ground, he proved a more than able partner to big Shane Duffy – himself turning in an absolute beast of a performance.

    The entire back four deserve plaudits, in truth. Marmite man Gaeten Bong reclaimed his shirt from Bernardo and put in a great shift, whilst we saw an incredibly assured debut on the right from Martin Montoya – looking every inch the top level player that he is. Decent career path, Montoya – Barcelona – Inter Milan – Valencia – the Albion…

    25 minutes in, a deserved breakthrough. And what a quality goal it was, too. Prӧpper spread the ball wide to Bong, who rolled the ball into the path of March on the overlap. March delivered a perfect low cross – to which Glenn Murray applied the most exquisite of finishing touches – lifting the ball deftly over David De Gea with the outside of his boot. Absolute class.

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