They are four points clear of the relegation zone currently, with an FA Cup quarter-final tie against Man United to look forward to in the coming weeks.
Brighton and Hove Albion’s Relegation Battle
Why Will They Stay Up?
The togetherness and unity that manager Chris Hughton has given to Brighton can extend a long way in the league due to the chaotic nature of other clubs around them.
Coupled with this, they have the individual brilliance of players such as Pascal Gross and the mercurial Izquierdo. The two really shone through in the recent fixtures against fellow strugglers West Ham and Stoke.
If Brighton can replicate the level of performance shown in their last three matches, including the vital 4-1 win over Swansea, on a weekly basis then the Seagulls will be in no danger of returning to the Championship at the first time of asking.
Glenn Murray has been the shining light in terms of scoring, with ten goals this season already proving a great return for the 34-year-old Cumbrian.
A successful January transfer window saw them add Locadia and Ulloa to their strikeforce, which was much needed to support the ageing Murray.
A total of 37 points was enough for survival in the past six seasons, which means Brighton have to win only two of their last ten matches to stay up. They seem to have accumulated enough points thus far in order to achieve this and are on a six-match unbeaten run in all competitions.
Prior to this, it was one league win in 14 matches which does not make for great reading. However, on the whole, they managed to secure draws with a lot of teams surrounding them which is obviously a bonus as the opposition can’t pick up the points to catch them.
They have conceded the least goals in the bottom half, proving that Hughton can grind out results when necessary and stay resolute. The spine and structure of their team should be enough to see them over the finish line.
Why Could They Go Down?
Generally goals. Or more specifically, the lack of them. Despite having a good defensive record, before that almost anomalous thumping win in their last game, only Swansea themselves and West Brom, in the bottom half, had scored fewer goals than Brighton.
The reliance on Glenn Murray has been the main factor that has been troubling them this season and is their only real possible downfall.
New signing Locadia had a prolific first half of the season for PSV prior to Brighton signing him, with nine goals in 15 games. However, players from the Eredivisie are notoriously hit and miss. For every Luis Suarez, there’s an Afonso Alves. The goals against Coventry and the Swans should give him confidence and will give Hughton food for thought in coming weeks.
Leonardo Ulloa is an astute signing, considering his previous history with the club and the lack of viable striking options to buy for the teams in the bottom half. However, the Argentine is not the most clinical and has barely played for parent club Leicester this season.
If these two both prove to be poor signings, although Locadia does seem to be promising in the early stages, then Brighton will be looking nervously over their shoulders for the rest of this season.
The quarter-final tie against Manchester United appears as the only other possible hindrance. Could this be a distraction for a squad that isn’t used to playing in such big occasions, with a trip to Wembley on the horizon?
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