Adam El-Abd’s Brighton within touching distance of league leaders
Adam El-Abd’s Brighton & Hove Albion find themselves a point adrift of Championship league leaders Blackburn after securing their fourth straight victory on the trot with a 1-0 win against Watford, following a convincing 3-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday on Friday.
El-Abd and captain Gordon Greer have formulated themselves as a heavily stable partnership in defense as Brighton pick up their third clean sheet, having only conceded 3 goals in 6 games – including a penalty and an own goal.
But it was Spanish right-back Bruno Saltor who stole the headlines against Wednesday as he set up two fantastic goals which saw him rightfully claim the Man of the Match award.
Saltor is becoming an instant hit with the fans since signing for the Albion in the summer after being released by Valencia. It was only last season he was playing against the likes of Messi and Ronaldo. I personally adore his determination to contribute to the teams attacking mentality, despite being a right-back.
The team started off brilliantly, full flowing football at its best. The fans were enjoying the show and you could sense the uplifting atmosphere around the heavily packed AMEX. Indeed, it is the highest home attendance since the FA Cup Quater Final 1983 against Norwich City.
Despite Hammond’s goal being disallowed, you could easily feel team’s thirst for glory; this must be the “statement of intent” manager Gus Poyet was going on about.
And it happened again, Albion winger, William Buckley makes a break on the counter-attack only for ex-Liverpool goalkeeper, Chris Kirkland to come to the rescue. Shambolic defending by the Wednesday defense; shaky start, and it didn’t stop there.
The Seagulls had 7 shots on target along with 5 corners and 60% share of the possession, demonstrating the sheer dominance the Albion have had in recent games, wonderful consistency to witness.
In the 20th minute, Pharoah’s El-Abd makes a crunching challenge and starts yet another attack, leading to a foul outside the box. Bridge and Bridcutt talk, Bridge to take, Bridge smacks it, deflected, and finds its way into the net.
The Man City loanee has already scored 2 goals with the Albion, his first in nearly 9 years of competitive football. Surely a good omen to keep him, Mr. Chairman?
The heavily deflected free-kick sees the Wednesday’s Kirkland go the wrong way and looked quite foolish when repeated on the Football League show highlights.
Buckley and Bruno could perform a remarkable partnership on the wings. With both of them contributing to crosses, passes and goal scoring opportunities, which could’ve seen the Albion go 4-0 by half-time.
As the second half approached, the atmosphere has hit another level. The new East Stand tier is rocking and makes for a brilliant and enjoyable scene.
It was all Albion again in the second half, and Wednesday’s Llera was lucky to be on the pitch following an awful, high-footed challenge on in-form Craig Mackail-Smith. The former Albion trialist has become a Wednesday favourite but seemed to have a chip on his shoulder by constantly bickering and arguing, and refusing to talk to Gus Poyet added a bit of spice to the atmosphere.
Bruno capped off an excellent move with a wonderful assist for Craig Mackail-Smith to nail in his 5th goal of the season, which we celebrated with the C-gull celebration (see picture below).
The chants began: “Say we are top of the league! Say we are top of the league!”
A glorious sight. Just as I’ve caught my breath to join in the chant, something glorious happened.
Out of absolutely nowhere, Bruno Saltor, deep in the Albion’s half, pings an absolute beauty to William Buckley, to simply chip over Kirkland to cap off a wonderful 3 goal display from the Albion in a truly FLAIR-tastic game to bestow upon.
Everyone was jumping with joy, and credit to the Wednesday players, they had their fair share of chances too, especially towards the end of the game.
Bothroyd (an Albion target, allegedly), headed at goal from point-blank range but our great big Pole in goal, Tomasz Kuszczak, made a terrific save to keep his clean sheet, winning the applause of the fans.
Gus Poyet, to say the least, was speechless and over the moon. You can tell in the post-match interview he couldn’t have asked for more. “Overall it was a perfect night,” the former Uruguayan manager says. “You couldn’t simply ask for more. Bruno did everything perfectly, one of the best attacking displays I have seen”.
Adam El-Abd took to Twitter on Saturday to state his delight, “Even if it’s only for a brief spell, I’m enjoying looking at that table this morning!”
Adam El-Abd played the entire 90mins at centre-back to help the Seagulls earn their fourth straight game, and another clean sheet, with a brave 1-0 victory in the Championship at Vicarage Road.
The loan goal was scored from the penalty spot by in-form striker Craig Mackail-Smith, his 6th of the season.
El-Abd once again took his enjoyment to Twitter following the match, “Ground 3 points out without being at our best. Very early days, but it’s a good sign if we want to be successful this year.”
New signing Andrea Orlandi praised Albion’s solid defensive display telling seagulls.co.uk, “The back four were outstanding, especially in the air against Chris Iwelumo who is a big strong striker. Adam El-Abd and Gordon Greer did a great job.”
Brighton are now level with Ahmed Elmohamady’s Hull City, who’re both just a point adrift of Blackburn.
Follow Tom Philips on Twitter (@Tom_Philzo).
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