Have the wheels come off Brighton’s promotion challenge?
The wheels haven’t come off Brighton’s season just yet but it was still a miserable week for the Seagulls as they suffered two defeats in a row for the second time this year. The down turn started on a Tuesday with a very unlucky 2-1 defeat to promotion rivals Newcastle, who scored two goals in the last ten minutes. Newcastle equalized through one of the flukiest goals you’ll ever see, with the ball pinging around the box and then ricocheting off Daimè foot into the top right corner. Things went from bad to worse last weekend when Brighton went to Nottingham Forest where they preceded to get thrashed 3-0 in a completely lack-luster display. Luckily for Brighton however, they are still six-points clear of third place Huddersfield, but with the run of form Huddersfield have been on lately Brighton can’t afford to drop too many more points. A 2-0 midweek win against Rotherham did something to stem the run of poor results but it was a nervy victory against a team they should easily beat.
It was certainly an interesting weekend in the Premier League with plenty of controversy and plenty of goals. The big game of the weekend saw Arsenal away at Liverpool, who had lost against a reinvigorated Leicester on Monday night. On the opening day of the season when these two teams met Liverpool beat Arsenal 4-3 in a seven-goal thriller. The weekend’s game didn’t disappoint – especially for Liverpool fans – with Klopp’s sides blitzkrieg style of play simply blowing Arsenal away and resulting in 3-1 Liverpool win with Adam Lallana greatly impressing once again.
The main controversy of the game came an hour before kick-off when a fit, on-form Alexis Sanchez was omitted from the starting line-up. A move from Arsene Wenger that proved a costly mistake; one that was highlighted by Sanchez’s influence in the game once he finally came on in the second half. This, again, feels like another nail in Wenger’s coffin, a coffin that is occupied by plenty nails already, compunded further by a 10-2 aggregate loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
After the controversial sacking of Ranieri at the end of February all eyes were on Leicester who, after dispatching Liverpool comfortably at the start of the week, did it all again to the same effect against a traveling Hull side, further lifting Leicester away from the drop-zone. Is this proof that Leicester was right to sack Ranieri or does it just show how the Foxes’ problems this season lie with players attitudes? What is clear however is that switching back to the formation and play that proved so effective last season has worked a treat, suggesting the blame maybe does lie at Ranieri’s doorstep. Questions that are sure to rumble on until the end of the season.