Brighton & Hove Albion earnt their first win of the Premier league campaign with a confident display over West Bromwich Albion.
The two sides both had very different openings to their seasons, as Brighton went into this game without any goals scored while West Brom’s draw with Stoke City meant that they remained unbeaten.
Solly March continued to live up to his hype with definitive passes and clever runs from the left flank helping to push his side forward. The Baggies danger man meanwhile often looked frustrated with his given task of trying to win constant aerial battles against Brighton’s solid centre-back pairing of Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy. Dunk has been tipped to follow in similar footsteps of the likes Gary Cahill & Phil Jones, something looking more and more possible as the games go by.
Things were looking promising for the Brighton faithful from the beginning, seeing them enjoy 59% of the first half possession. But passing the ball hasn’t been Brighton’s weakness this season, it has been their inability to convert their chances and against a defensive mastermind in Tony Pulis the game was always going to be difficult.
But it was Brighton who ultimately broke through just before half time with a goal that sent an equal amount of relief and ecstasy cascading around the AMEX Stadium. Summer signing Pascal Gross picked up the ball on the left of the 6-yard box and made space to poke the ball into the back of the net. Questions may be asked of right-back Allan Nyom at right-back but ultimately Gross was simply allowed far too much time that close to goal.
As the second half kicked-off it was much of the same from Brighton. The Seagulls stayed confident and capitalised on a quick break – again from Pascal Gross, who scored again in the 47th minute with a shot from 25 yards out into the bottom of Ben Fosters goal. They didn’t look like a team who hadn’t scored at all this season and similarly it didn’t seem like the solid West Brom side who had only conceded one Premier League goal this season. Both sides were clearly sensing a form of change.
Brighton started to look more like themselves of last season by confidently strolling around the oppositions box and allowing French wing magician Antony Knockaert to enjoy himself with dribbles and tricks on the left flank.
They say confidence breeds goals and that couldn’t be proven more right than with the hosts third goal from Tomer Hemed as Pascal Gross turned provider. Nyom was caught out once more by Gross who got in behind the lines to create a cross for the Israeli international who Swooped around Johnny Evans to head the ball into the slim space on the inside of the post.
Once the third goal went in West Brom looked more likely to score as Brighton focused on keeping the three points. The pressure was firmly on the home side for the last 20 minutes after Morrison fired on from the center of the box, making for a nervy finish for the Premier League newboys. One of the brighter sparks for the away side was the inclusion of new signing Oliver Burke from RB Leipzig who made confident runs and caused Brighton problems down the right side but along with the rest of the Baggies, he lacked the final ball once his hard work got him into dangerous positions. And that was the story for most of the match, hard work that couldn’t quite be transformed into goals.
The Baggies seemed to suffer from the same problem Brighton had been suffering from up until now. Target-man Rondon failed to claim a shot on target, and it was only when Morrison came on that they started to look like they could take control. Meanwhile Brighton have achieved their first ever three points in the Premier League helping to ease fears of goalless games and pointless Saturdays, but there is still a lot of work to be done.
Written by Will Muir.