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Terrific Trossard the standout for surging Seagulls

Prior to their last two games, any conversation involving Brighton & Hove Albion was almost certain to include the classic football cliche: ‘surely they are too good to go down?’ Over the last two weekends, the Seagulls, led by Leandro Trossard, have proven that to be absolutely the case.

After a deserved victory at Anfield on February 3rd, Brighton’s season took an almost comedic turn. Six games passed without a victory as the South Coast club found every conceivable way to avoid winning football matches. After departing the FA Cup courtesy of a 94th-minute collapse at Leicester, Graeme Potter’s men embarked on one of the most farcical three-game stretches in Premier League history.

Against Aston Villa, Crystal Palace and West Brom, Brighton took 66 shots on goal to their opponents 13.  They averaged 67% possession. They also allowed Palace to score with their only two touches in the penalty area and managed to hit the woodwork with two penalties at the Hawthorns. Despite utter domination for 270 minutes, the men from the AMEX accumulated a solitary point from the favourable fixtures. Meanwhile, Fulham surged and the drop zone was suddenly one point away.

The pressure on a trip to St Marys followed by the visit of struggling Newcastle was now immense. Performances became irrelevant. Only results mattered. Brighton delivered both.

Central to both vital victories was Leandro Trossard. The brilliant Belgian international sealed success over the Saints with a devastating finish before steering his men past the Magpies with the opening goal and subsequent assist. In controlling a long ball over his shoulder, turning inside and caressing the ball past Martin Dubravka in the Newcastle goal, Trossard combined style and substance in a way that Brighton have been looking to do all season.

The job is not yet finished despite newfound breathing space. Securing survival remains an absolute top priority for the remainder of 20/21. Saturday’s demolition of Steve Bruce’s men, though, showed viewers around the country that Brighton are a team with the potential to join the Premier League establishment. Graeme Potter’s vision combined with the mercurial talents of their chief playmaker give the Seagulls every chance of kicking on next season.

Clubs such as Leicester serve as the long-term blueprint for those looking to assert themselves among the elite. Brighton’s performances this season have long suggested that they are worthy of a significantly higher league position. On recent evidence, Trossard and co. have every chance of making that opinion a reality next season.

Dan Fox

Long suffering Saints fan, Le Tissier disciple and extremely limited non-league target man.

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