The Championship has produced little class this season. Cardiff haven’t been renowned for playing brilliant football all season. While second place Hull have largely rode their luck, George Boyd has been the catalyst in their end of season form. Crystal Palace and Watford have been impressive on their day, but their day is infrequent. A side that does have the quality to bring into the Premier League is Brighton with a highly talented squad, and they are set for Premier League football.
In their recent victory over Middlesbrough they were a class above their opponent, playing what Alan Partridge would describe as ‘liquid football’. That was shown in their first goal, Andrea Orlandi finished a fine move as they swept away the opposition.Their class has flourished in recent weeks against Crystal Palace they exploited their opponents weak points as they won 3-0. They have also been one of the two sides to win at the Cardiff City Stadium as they commanded to a 2-0 victory back in February. After overcoming a baron spell in the middle of the season they have emerged as the best footballing side in the Championship.
Their squad is finely balanced, the defence has some steel in it with Matthew Upson producing some commanding performances alongside long serving player Adam El Abd and captain Gordon Greer. In the midfield Dean Hammond and Andrew Crofts bring stability. Their experiences at Southampton and Norwich has been vital for the Brighton cause. The midfield also has some energy to it, David Lopez, Vicente and Andrea Orlandi bring a very distinct Spanish edge to the squad. An effective edge that is also entertaining.
Brighton’s manager has perhaps proved himself as the best manager in the Championship, it is little wonder he is sought after greatly. He deserves credit for his dealing in the January window, Leonardo Ulloa has proved to be the ingredient to move the club forward. Largely unheard outside of Liga Adelante his goalscoring at Almeria hadn’t gone unnoticed by Gus Poyet and he signed the tall imposing striker for around £2 million. His impact has been instant, with eight goals thus far. He is the clinical striker they have been missing since the injury and loss of form of Craig Mackail Smith. Poyet described as adding an extra dimension to Brighton’s game:
We didn’t have the kind of player he is and his second goal especially showed his quality. He has timing, jumping and power.
He allows Brighton to play any which they like, a mixture of pressing and passing football. Along with an aerial game if necessary.
Brighton have long shown their intent for top tier football. The Amex Stadium is the finest stadium in the Championship with a healthy capacity of 27,500 and an average attendance of 25,705 it oozes ambition from the football club. First planned in the late 90s and opened in 2011, it embodies what Brighton has been waiting a long time for- Premier League football.
The end of the season will see Brighton look to cement their playoff position with games against Blackpool, Leeds and Wolves. It is not crazy to suggest they can get maximum points.