Thursday, 6 December 2012

Seagulls swoop in

With over 23,000 season ticket holders at their new stadium, the largest number in the Championship, Brighton and Hove Albion are once again a formidable force after many difficult years. Their average home attendance of 25,446 is the biggest in the league and the Jimmy Seed Stand will be sold out on Saturday.

Given all this, the pundits were not very generous to them pre-season, rating them as 5th, 7th and 12th. They are currently 8th which is the average of the predictions. The Times described them as 'error prone'. Their away record is impressive, however: won four; drawn three; lost three.

The position of keeper was a bit of an issue last season, but Tamasz Kuszczak was brought in on a free from Manchester United to address that problem. Ex-Valencia right back Bruno Saltor can make the occasional error. Also from Spain is Andrea Orlandi, but he was injured in the 3-0 defeat at Palace. In midfield Liam Bridcutt was last year's player of the year. Craig Mackall-Smith leads the strike force, although he missed a golden opportunity against Palace. The Seagulls are perhaps over reliant on him to score the goals.

Michael Morrison will be back to reinforce Charlton's defence, although Leon Cort did a valiant job at Millwall. The Football League Paper said that he 'marshalled the defence in impressive fashion' and named him in their team of the week. The often criticised Ben Hamer was 'solid and dependable as ever behind an excellent defensive showing.

The midfield also came in for some praise with Dale Stephens being singled out, although it was noted that Bradley Pritchard needed to improve his end product. Johnnie Jackson 'has lost pace but his vision remains'. Understandably, analysis of the attack was more lukewarm and one wonders if the Hulse/Kermorgant pairing is one that works well. Kermorgant is also still shaking off the rust from his enforced absence.

Gus Poyet has got his side to play aesthetically pleasing and free-flowing football and hopefully this will be an enjoyable match to watch that also serves up three points.

No comments: