Brighton – Ready for the Premier League

by James Cartwright

Gustavo PoyetThe 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.

29 Responses

  1. Scott McIntyre says:

    At this stage of the season the league table doesn’t lie..

    Brighton have not emerged as the best football team in the Championship, that accolade belongs to Cardiff and Hull City..

  2. Mike says:

    Interesting article but for future use it’s “barren spell” not “baron spell”.

    I suspect Brighton will miss out though.

  3. Malcolm Johnson says:

    Scott re read the article. Brighton are the best equiped of the championship sides for premier league football their style would grace that level.

  4. Ross says:

    That’s not what he’s saying at all, we all know CCFC were the best team, they played well and got their just rewards.

    I think the author is getting at the fact; Brighton play the best football. But it doesn’t mean they always win; he’s applauding Brighton’s adaptability, flair etc etc.

  5. Paul says:

    Since they were doing well in League 1 everyone has raved about Brighton, and I’ll agree they’re doing well but I feel they’re over hyped massively. I think they’ll do well in the play offs but Forests end of season form, and Watfords quality will mean I’d not expect them to be a promoted side.

  6. Gaviotas says:

    Cardiff have definitely been the best squad over the season (the defeat to Brighton was against the run of play, the second goal being on the break after sustained Cardiff pressure).

    However teams evolve over the season and the best teams in the first half of the season aren’t always the best teams in the second half (look at Bolton and Boro for example)

    However since January and the signings of Upson and especially Ulloa, Brighton have stepped up a level. Their defence was pretty good anyway, they just couldn’t score (they’ve lost far fewer games than anyone else except Cardiff, they just couldn’t win them). Now they have Ulloa the whole shape of the team has changed and they can press further up field. Their problem is, of course, if Ulloa isn’t available then they go back to being merely a good team that is difficult to break down.

  7. Matt says:

    Presumably a Brighton fan that wrote this! ‘Crystal Palace and Watford have been impressive on their day, but their day is infrequent.’ Watford are above Brighton and Palace were before Tuesday so clearly their days have been more frequent than Brighton. They were also on the back foot for most of the Palace match and relied on poor defending, creating very little.

    I’ve seen nothing to suggest Poyet is a particularly good manager – with the board stumping up for Upson, Bridge, Vicente, Mackail-Smith etc etc then he is doing no better than should be expected. The fact it took him 18 months to find the need to replace Murray (and the fact he let him go in the first place) shows he’s maybe a little tactically naive when he’s been crying out for a goalscorer the whole time.

    In Poyets own words, the Championship has been of poor quality this season and after 6 months of stuttering they’ve finally started to take advantage of it. They really need to go up this year though otherwise Poyet will leave (not necessarily a bad thing) but the crowds will start to dwindle with the novelty factor gone and FFP will hit the club hard.

  8. Ian says:

    Matt is clearly of the Crysal palace persuasion and the defeat at the Amex is still hurting. Crowds are still on the up without knowing what division they will be in next year, best supported team in the Football League. people just need to accept that Brighton are on the up.

  9. James Cartwright Jimmy Cartwright says:

    Cheers Mike I remember that for future reference.

    Yes Ross, that’s what I mean, Brighton have played the best style of football.

    And no I’m not a Brighton fan, I’m a Middlesbrough fan.

    1. Keithjohnreeves says:

      Just for info ….. Amex capacity is 30,750 ….. Brighton season ticket sales is 12th highest in the country including premiership …… season ticket sales for next season are expected to rise even further immaterial to which division they are in ….. with a set limit of around 26,000 as away teams are entitled to 3,000 …. leaving only approx 1,500 for sale matchdays ….. also the wage bill is 12th highest in championship …. so quite a few teams will be more affected by FFP rules ….. finally the chairman is a life long supporter not an Asian billionaire playing monopoly …. UTA!

  10. Scott McIntyre says:

    The article cheaply dismisses Hull City as being lucky.. Who ever got promoted out of the championship because of luck..?

    The article also loses credibility and insight by stating George Boyd has been the catalyst for promotion.. Boyd has played 10 games since 23rd Feb won 5 lost 5. Worst run of the season.

    Had goalscorers Matty Fryatt and Sone Aluko been available, the gap between Hull and Brighton would be much wider than 11 points.

    Incidently, I take nothing away from Brighton. They are a decent side who have a fantastic stadium and strong fan base, they would no-doubt flourish in the premier league..

  11. James Cartwright James Cartwright says:

    Boyd has to some degree got them over the dotted line, scored some important goals since joining Hull. For me, Hull have average when I’ve seen them. They haven’t been brilliant, just efficient

  12. James Cartwright James Cartwright says:

    Been*

  13. Jack says:

    “They were also on the back foot for most of the Palace match and relied on poor defending, creating very little.”

    haha, what

    I would say Brighton and Watford are the two most notable footballing sides in the Championship, but Watford have blown hot and cold, and Brighton have just drawn way too many games. Even since the arrival of Ulloa which has improved them a lot they’ve failed to kill off numerous teams.

    Cardiff and Hull don’t seem to have anything specal about them but they are just solid all over the pitch, you’ve got to give credit to them for achieving a level of consistency that no other team has.

  14. Paul says:

    As far as I know Hull have only played to their best in four or five games. That said they’ve ground out results despite not having a fit goalscorer. They’ve been awful on telly as well, although I think they were unlucky against Brighton. Let’s just hope they do better tomorrow night.

  15. Cgull says:

    Not sure who the Author supports, if he was an Albion fan he should know we struggled against Cardiff but somehow got the win, clear who Matt supports though.
    Don’t be bitter, you have the winger that is too good for everyone, the striker second only to Messi, the comedy genius Ian Holloway, and a Jedi in midfield.
    Can’t explain why you haven’t scored for about a month though.

  16. john stroud says:

    Loving the bitterness from Matt and Jack. Must be Palace fans with such delusions.

    Great and balanced article by the way. I agree that Brighton are by far best suited for the Premiership, whether they will make it or not is a different matter. Here’s hoping though.

  17. deane culver says:

    Reply to a rather disgruntled Scott McIntyre post. The James Cartwright write up was excellent & told it exactly how it has been this season. Everybody is capable of beating each other & I have to say I am astounded that Hull are where they are. They are nothing special to watch. Brighton have drawn 18 games & should have won at least half of these. Their football is an absolute joy to watch. Whether they need another season in this division, will remain to be seen. It pains me to say it, but Palace are a far better team than Hull. But as we know, it doesn’t always work out like that. Take West Ham, they squeezed into the Prem’ and have fared better than the other two promoted.

  18. deane culver says:

    Well said that man.

  19. deane culver says:

    Clearly a CPFC Fan

  20. Alan the Seagull says:

    Nice article.

    Glaring omissions though!

    Liam Bridcutt? Midfield dynamo, now recognised by Scotland!

    Tomas Kusczak?, arguably the best keeper in the Championship.

    Wayne Bridge?, best left back in the Championship

  21. Scott McIntyre says:

    Hull City are an unfashionable club from up north, consequently have remained under the radar all-season..

    Football fans and media alike are oblivious to their progress this season, almost perplexed or annoyed that the club has won promotion almost without breaking into sweat..

    Yes, of course I’m biased.. but as a supporter since the 70s I am qualified to say that this current squad is easily the most talented I have seen. The quality & style of the football has been breathtaking at times.

    Robbie Brady, James Chester, Stephen Quinn and Ahmed Elmohamady have been our stand out players.. The squad has no weak links, all of them are footballers.

    I suggest promotion would have been achieved weeks ago, if the team had not been robbed of its goalscorers Sone Aluko and Matty Fryatt.

    As for the Premier League, this will be the clubs 3rd season out of six in the top-flight.. It holds no mystique for the manager, players or fans, we know whats coming.. none of it will come as a shock or surprise. The same cannot be said for Cardiff or Brighton.

    Leicester are my tip for the play-offs.

  22. James says:

    No mention of Bridcutt? One of the most consistent players in the league & in all probability Brighton’s player of the year.

    Ulloa has made the difference, had we had him since the start of the season, I suspect we would have turned some of those silly draws at home into wins.

    CMS has been out of form since he signed. He clearly isn’t a lone striker & I can’t really understand Poyet’s insistance in using him as one. He runs around alot but is ultimately a donkey.

  23. steve says:

    Finest ground, best manager, biggest fanbase, team playing the best football….amazing Brighton are not 20 points clear at the top isn’t it?

    Actually, if you take into account that almost all of the above is pretty baseless opinion rather than ‘fact’ then it is maybe a bit more understandable.
    ‘Fact’ is Cardiff and hopefully Hull City will be the teams to get into the Premiership this season.

  24. Paleface says:

    A great article, which explains precisely why Brighton are running away with the league title… oh wait.

  25. Xander says:

    FFP will hit Brighton hard? Not so sure about that.
    There are probably at least a dozen clubs with a higher wage bill, they have the highest average attendance in the league and have the most expensive season tickets. That sounds like a lot of money coming in to me.

  26. Polly13 says:

    2While second place Hull have largely rode their luck, George Boyd has been the catalyst in their end of season form. ”

    Our “end of season form” has been our worst spell of the season, and is the reason we’ve still not secured our automatic promotion spot, you muppet! Did you even research this, or just go on gut instinct?!!

  27. steve Richmond says:

    think you are a little presumptious, and with regards to Hull City, a tad disrespectful. The Tigers have played some of the best expansive and attacking footballl seen. Its just a pity that the televised games , which no doubt you are forming your opinion on, including against Brighton have not shown the mighty Tigers produce their best form.

  28. steve Richmond says:

    Not a good article and extremely bias in the least. Brighton were Hull City’s first opponents in this campaign, and an excellent championship game ensued. I am surprised therefore and equally disappointed of these comments. clearly made from an author misinformed. Only grtitude I can take is is the equal mis judgement of a fine tem club and team made by the national media whereby the great Hull C

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