Talking Point

Fantasy Match Report

Manuel Pellegrini was confined to his bed, so Jack Sullivan took over. He surprised everybody by selecting Ogbonna, Diop and Balbuena to play alongside each other at the back.

It became obvious fairly quickly that Brighton were finding it hard to achieve any level of penetration. The West ham players were quick to close down any move by the opposition.

The back three allowed Fredericks and Masuaku to display their talents, one with speed and the other with speed of foot. They were able to get to the byline and sure enough after fifteen minutes, a Fredericks cross found Haller’s head and West Ham were ahead. Their first goal of the Premiership season and the first for Haller in the Premier league.

The game continued as it had started. Wilshere was especially effective, given that he knew the was solid backup behind him and he found Antoniou who hassled and bustled his way through the defence, but his shot was well wide of the goal and he should probably have gone to Specsavers.

Brighton came out strongly in the second half, but West ham continued to press forward. Lanzini was combining with Haller and this eventually paid off when a beautiful pass found Haller in the penalty area and he slotted home giving the goalkeeper no chance.

Brighton were reduced to long balls into the West Ham area and this finally paid off when Murray ducked and the ball hit Ogbonna on the arm. The referee didn’t award a penalty but the game was stopped for VAR and the decision was reversed. Murray’s penalty found the top corner.

West Ham continued to play some beautiful football. Anderson and Fornals looked particularly dangerous. Finally, Anderson cut in from the right and found the net from just outside the penalty area.

With their new formation, West Ham look a very solid side with plenty of talent and should go far.


Opposition Q & A

Opposition Q&A with Brighton

After that battering against Man City last week, this weekend sees West Ham fans travelling the short distance to the south coast to Brighton to see if we can score our first goals, and secure the first points of the season. Ahead of the game I spoke to Scott McCarthy from WeAreBrighton to discuss the game, last season, and the season ahead.
Hi Scott, the season seems to start earlier every year! Hope you’ve had a decent break. Brighton certainly had a great victory last weekend – was that expected?
Absolutely not! We went to Watford on the opening day last year, lost 2-0 and didn’t manage to record a single shot on target. Most Brighton fans would have been expecting an improvement on that, but to go to Vicarage Road and completely blow away a relatively solid Premier League club on their own patch was unbelievable. We’ve only won once away in the Premier League by three clear goals before – don’t worry, I won’t remind you of who that was against – and we only scored 16 times on the road in the whole of last season. So to win 3-0, it was chalk and cheese compared to last year. You’d have to have taken some pretty strong acid to have predicted that happening.

Of course you’ve appointed a new manager in Graham Potter. Were you surprised to see Chris Hughton being sacked at the end of last season, given that he had again successfully retained your place in the league? Was he a bit hard done by? What will Chris’s legacy be?
It’s a strange one by modern football standards in that whilst most Brighton fans were sad to see him go, it was a decision that unfortunately Tony Bloom had to take. On the face of it, Premier League survival and an FA Cup Semi Final appearance represents a good season. But that only tells half the story. We were 12 points clear of relegation at Christmas, at which point Hughton changed from 4-4-1-1 to 4-3-3. The result of that decision was that we won just two league games in 2019, lost at the Amex to Burnley, Southampton and Cardiff, suffered our heaviest home defeat for 46 years when Bournemouth left Sussex with a 5-0 victory, went 14 hours without scoring and ultimately had to rely on Crystal Palace of all teams to beat Cardiff to keep us up. It was abysmal and if Hughton had stayed and we replicated that form over an entire campaign, we’d be going down this season. That last four months doesn’t detract from the amazing job that Hughton did over his four-and-a-half years though and he’s still the greatest manager of my time supporting the club.

Before we start on this season and game, what were the highlights for you last season? And conversely the low points?
That 14 hour run without a goal and the Bournemouth home game were diabolical. I can’t recall a Brighton side ever playing as poorly as we did against the Cherries that day, and I’ve seen us lose 1-0 at home to a Walsall side who played for over an hour with nine men and go down 3-1 to Barnet in front of barely 1,000 people on a Tuesday night at ‘home’ in Gillingham. The high points have to be both wins over Palace. We took six points off our rivals and then they were the ones who kept us up by relegating Cardiff. Can’t imagine that went down too well in Croydon.

It’s now your third season back in the top division, what will be the expectations of Graham Potter this season, and can you tell the unenlightened a little bit about him?
It’s impossible to know really. Potter wants to play attacking, possession based football which is about as far removed from Hughton’s style as possible. We played 3-4-3 on Saturday with three strikers on the pitch and wingbacks pushed miles up the pitch. It’s bold and it’s brash and while it’s got absolutely no right to work against the big six, it’s ridiculously exciting to watch. We’re probably undergoing the most radical overhaul in approach that a Premier League club has attempted in a single summer since Palace replaced Big Sam and his pint of wine with Frank De Boer. We all know how that worked out and to be honest, we could end up going the same way. Or we could gatecrash the top 10. Nobody knows. That’s adding to the excitement and intrigue.

You certainly seem to have been busy during the close seasons with purchases: which of those do you see becoming regular starters for Brighton?
Leandro Trossard is the most exciting for me. He’s only 22 but captained Genk to the Belgian League title last season, scoring over 20 goals from out wide. He’s been in excellent form in pre-season but interestingly didn’t even make it off the bench at Watford. In Neal Maupay, the Albion will be hoping they’ve found Glenn Murray’s successor – which will be about time given that we’ve spent the past eight years trying to replace him since Gus Poyet went insane and released him first time around in favour of signing Craig Mackail-Smith. Adam Webster was our other big money signing but it’s hard to see him breaking into the back three at the minute with Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy ahead of him and Big Dan Burn having been our best player at the weekend.

Given that you’ve got off to a flying start where do you think Brighton will realistically finish the season?
As I said, it’s impossible to guess – and I don’t think we’ll really know how good or bad Potter is until around Christmas time. After all, the last time we scored three goals away from home on the opening day under a new manager, we then lost the next 12 in a row, Martin Hinshelwood got sacked and we were relegated at the end of the season. Fingers crossed that won’t be the case this time.

Can West Ham recover from their opening day battering? What position do you think West Ham will end up in come next May?
Manchester City and Liverpool are so far ahead of everyone else that a 5-0 home defeat against one of those two isn’t actually a bad result these days. You seem to have recruited quite well and have a good manager, so top 10 should surely be the aim again.
Will it be the ‘same old, same old’ at the top of the League this year? What are your early predictions for the top 4?
The top three are pretty much sewn up but after that, it seems like a good year for someone else to have a crack at the top six. I’m never convinced by Arsenal, United weren’t exactly great once Solksjaer was put at the wheel permanently and Chelsea are serving a transfer ban having appointed a bloke whose managerial record reads one sixth place finish in the Championship. Most people would probably pick Wolves to gatecrash the party, but I like the look of Leicester. Brendan Rodgers is an excellent manager, they’ve bought well and they have a young squad packed with talented English players.

Who are your favourites for the drop?
Newcastle should be doomed now they’ve lost Rafa the Gaffer. Norwich keep telling everyone how they won’t compromise the style of play that won them promotion but look how that worked out for Fulham. Then probably Sheffield United which will be a shame as it’s an excellent city for an away day.

The old adage ‘Never change a winning team,’ doesn’t seem to apply too much in football these days, will Potter make a change for a home game? Predictions for the line-up?
There’s only one potential change I can see after last week and that might be Trossard coming in for Gross. That would be based on Potter wanting to introduce more pace to the side to play even more on the front foot than we did last week at Watford. Otherwise, unchanged: Maty Ryan in goal; Burn, Dunk Duffy as the back three; Martin Montoya right, Solly March left; Dale Stephens and Davy Propper in the middle; Murray through the middle with Jurgen Locadia one side and either Gross or Trossard the other.

You will have to think yourselves favourites for this fixture, are you feeling confident? Predictions for score?
I’ve watched Brighton for too long to expect them to follow up one good result with another. In fact, it would be very much typical if you came to the Amex and turned us over after last weekend. I’ll go for something in the middle with a 1-1.

Well many thanks to Scot for his time and comments. He has only made a modest prediction, so I will join him in going for a lowly 0 – 1 away win. Let’s get this party started! COYI

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Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: Brighton v West Ham

Blast from the past

Today’s blast from the past features a 1-0 victory at the Goldstone Ground, West Ham United’s first ever win away to tomorrow’s opponents, Brighton. It arrived nearly 106 years ago, on the 13th December 1913 in front of 6,000 spectators. H. H. Asquith was Prime Minister and, the day before, the stolen Mona Lisa was recovered in Florence after Vincenzo Perugia was arrested while trying to sell it. Music hall singer Alec Hurley had died the previous week – Hurley was the second husband of music hall singer and comedienne Marie Lloyd, who was best known for her performances of ‘My Old Man (Said Follow The Van)’.

22-year-old Lincolnshire-born forward Dick Leafe (pictured), formerly of Boston Town, Grimsby and Sheffield United, scored the only goal of the game as the Hammers ran out 1-0 winners – it was Leafe’s tenth goal in 15 games since making his debut three months earlier. When Leafe retired from playing in 1922, having scored 44 goals in 106 appearances for West Ham United, he took on the job of assistant secretary at the club until the management was forced to reduce the staff at the outbreak of World War Two.

Syd King’s Hammers ended the 1913/14 season sixth in the Southern League First Division; Leafe finished the season as the club’s top scorer with 21 goals in 37 matches. Brighton were to finish seventh. Swindon won the Southern League First Division, Blackburn won the league title and Burnley won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: Tommy Lonsdale, Tom Brandon, George Irvine, Tommy Randall, Bill Askew, Dan Woodards, Herbert Ashton, Syd Puddefoot, Bertie Denyer, Dick Leafe, George Hilsdon.

Club Connections

Players who have appeared for both clubs include:

Defenders: Len Young, Dennis Burnett, Mauricio Taricco, Tommy McAteer, Matthew Upson, Keith McPherson, William Kelly and Wayne Bridge.

Midfielders: Sebastien Carole, Bertie Lutton, John Payne, George Parris and Tony Stokes.

Strikers: Brian Dear, Sam Baldock, Tommy Dixon, Justin Fashanu, Greg Campbell, Paul Kitson, Sam Jennings, Sam Small, Herbert Lyon, Bobby Zamora, Dave Sexton and Mike Small.

In addition, Alan Curbishley played for both clubs and managed West Ham. Ex-Hammers Archie Macaulay, Chris Hughton and Liam Brady have managed Brighton.

This week’s focus though is on a goalkeeper who was with the Hammers either side of the Second World War before ending his playing career with the Seagulls. Harry Medhurst was born in Byfleet, Surrey on 5th February 1916 and started his career at Woking. At the age of 20, he agreed to turn professional by moving to Charlie Paynter’s Second Division West Ham United in 1936. Medhurst had to wait two years to make his Hammers debut, finally appearing between the posts in a 1-0 win over Fulham at Upton Park on Christmas Eve 1938. He took over from established custodian Herman Conway for all but one of the remaining 27 matches of the 1938/39 campaign, which saw the Irons finish 11th. Medhurst kept nine clean sheets in his 26 appearances during his first season of competitive football in east London – he is pictured below, claiming the ball in a 3-3 FA Cup fourth round draw with Tottenham at the Boleyn Ground on 21st January 1939, a match played in front of an official attendance of 42,716.

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Medhurst played in the first three games of the 1939/40 season before the Football League was suspended due to the outbreak of World War Two. Medhurst rose to the rank of Sergeant PTI (Physical Training Instructor) in the Army, having served with the Essex and Royal Artillery from 1939 to 1946. The regiment was a volunteer air defence unit of Britain’s Territorial Army – during the war, it defended the approaches to London in the Blitz and Operation Diver (the codename for countermeasures against the V-1 flying bomb campaign launched by the Luftwaffe in 1944, ‘Diver’ being the codename for the V-1 itself) before becoming a garrison unit in the liberation of Norway.

Medhurst played 134 matches for West Ham during hostilities, in the War League South, War League South Cup, London League, London War Cup and the Football League War Cup. The Hammers would indeed win the Football League War Cup in 1940, with Medhurst keeping a clean sheet in a 2-0 win at Chelsea in the second leg of the first round to see the side safely through to the next round against Leicester. Wartime service requirements restricted Medhurst to just this one outing in the competition, with Conway keeping goal as the Irons defeated the Foxes, Huddersfield, Birmingham and Fulham en route to a Wembley Final victory over Blackburn. Paynter successfully lobbied for Medhurst and Norman Corbett, who arrived at Wembley in his soldier’s uniform in time to take part in the post-match celebrations, to receive winners’ medals for their contributions to the cup run. Medhurst also guested for Sheffield Wednesday while based in Yorkshire during the conflict.

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Medhurst stayed with the Second Division Hammers when the Football League resumed in 1946/47, and played the first three games of that season, his final outing for West Ham coming in a 2-0 home defeat to Leicester on 7th September 1946. The presence of George Taylor and Ernie Gregory in the Hammers goalkeeping ranks led to the 30-year-old Medhurst being allowed to depart for First Division Chelsea in December 1946 in exchange for England international centre-forward Joe Payne (Payne still holds the Football League record for the most goals scored in one game, bagging ten in a 12-0 win for Luton over Bristol Rovers in a Third Division South match in April 1936). Medhurst had made 170 appearances for the Irons, although only 27 were in official Football League matches, with a further nine in the FA Cup.

Medhurst made 157 appearances for Chelsea during his six years in west London before joining Brighton in November 1952. He made 12 appearances for the Seagulls, helping them to a seventh-placed finish in the Third Division South in 1952/53 before retiring from playing at the end of that season, aged 37. Medhurst was also a keen cricketer, playing as a right-handed batsman for Cambridgeshire in the Minor Counties Championship from 1950 until 1953.

Medhurst returned to Stamford Bridge fulfilling various roles as a trainer, head first-team coach and physiotherapist until his retirement in 1975. Chelsea awarded him a Testimonial match against West Ham the following year. Harry’s assistant physio in the 1960s and ‘70s had been his son, Norman, who went on to work with England at European Championships and World Cups, including Italia ’90. Harry Medhurst died in Woking on 9th April 1984, at the age of 68. His son, Norman, passed away in June 2017.

Referee

The referee on Saturday will be 40-year-old Anthony Taylor – his most recent Irons appointment was for our 1-0 win at Tottenham in April. He also refereed our 4-2 FA Cup fourth round defeat at Wimbledon in January last season, as well as our 3-2 home win over Crystal Palace in December and our 4-0 opening-day defeat at Liverpool last August.

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Controversy and incident are never far away when the Cheshire-based official is the referee for a West Ham United match. Taylor was in charge for our 2-1 opening-day defeat at Chelsea in August 2016, awarding the home side a penalty and later controversially failing to issue a second yellow card to Diego Costa for an awful lunge at Adrian – Costa remained on the pitch to score the 89th-minute winner. Taylor also awarded a controversial and ultimately match-winning penalty to Liverpool at Upton Park in April 2014, while there was also controversy surrounding Guy Demel’s equaliser for West Ham in that game. Taylor is also the referee who had not one, but two red cards rescinded from the same game after he had sent off Carlton Cole and Darron Gibson in the Hammers’ 2-1 home defeat to Everton in December 2012. He sent off the home side’s Kevin Mirallas against the Hammers at Goodison Park in March 2016 and awarded the Toffees a penalty which Romelu Lukaku saw saved by Adrian.

Possible line-ups

Brighton are likely to be without right-back Ezequiel Schelotto, midfielder Yves Bissouma and winger Jose Izquierdo – alongside Glenn Murray, Izquierdo has often been the scourge of West Ham United in recent seasons. The Seagulls have won three and drawn one of the last four meetings between the two sides.

West Ham United are without the injured Mark Noble. Jack Wilshere should be available but Felipe Anderson and Sebastien Haller are doubts.

Possible Brighton XI: Ryan; Burn, Duffy, Dunk; Montoya, Stephens, Propper, March; Gross, Locadia; Maupay.

Possible West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Fredericks, Balbuena, Diop, Masuaku; Rice; Antonio, Wilshere, Snodgrass, Lanzini; Haller.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!

Follow @dan_coker on twitter.


Nigel Kahn’s Column

The Queen is Dead

Oh! Take me back to dear old Boleyn, 
Put me on the train for Upton Park, 
Take me anywhere, 
Drop me anywhere, 
Barking Road, The chicken run 
But I don’t care,
I should like to see my……..

 
Well, Saturday’s game was an eye-opener that was for sure, not just the way the team performed either. VARs full introduction to the Premier League for me highlighted the very reason I have opposed it. It could turn out to be actually detrimental and destructive to the fan experience inside the stadium. 

I’m sure it was a great theatre for those at home or in a pub/bar but for me, and quite a few others inside the stadium, it was detrimental to the beautiful game. How we got to this position is too long and varied for a mere peasant like me to dissect, but i’ll throw my two pennyworth in to try and get you all to understand why I feel this way.

Oh, and before the dinosaur tag is thrown at me, I’m not anti-technology per se. Goal-line technology should have been introduced years ago, across all organised pro or semi-pro leagues. The object of the game we all watch and spend more time tearing apart than we do watch, is to score a goal. The whole ball crossing the line is a definitive non-subjective fact. It either did or it didn’t. 
 
Farewell to Stratford’s cheerless marshes 
Hemmed in like a boar between arches 
Her very Lowness with a head in a sling 
I’m truly sorry – but it sounds like a wonderful thing 
I said Dave’s, don’t you ever crave 
To appear on the front of the Daily Sport 
Dressed in your Mother’s underwear? 
And so, I checked all the registered historical facts 
And I was shocked into shame to discover 
How I’m the eighteenth pale descendant 
Of some old cockney or other 

 
The FA a few years back tried and failed to bring respect to referees after years of them being used as scapegoats by players and managers for their own failings. Game after game, week after week, in front of the TV cameras managers would blame this defeat or that defeat on a referee’s decision that changed the game. At the same time, the manager of the winning team would generally point out how well his team had played and how his tactics paid off. He wouldn’t, though, thank the ref for his great performance.  The fans of the losing team would then latch on to their manager’s blame and lambast the refs on social media and so the circle was rounded. This continued on and on with the FA failing to really protect referees from the criticism levelled at them from losing managers.

With the wall to wall coverage of football now, that was possibly started when Sky Sports ews was launched, there is far more dissection of games and as such decisions made by refs. There are now far more TV cameras in the grounds than ever before. They can record contentious issues from multiple angles, playing them back time and time again. The referee missed so and so foul but look, if we look from another angle you can see there was contact, totally ignoring the fact that the referee sees it from one angle, and actually has a split decision of fewer than 2 seconds to make the decision on whether a foul was committed. 

All put together, then the bandwagon of technology “supposedly” to help referees was first mooted. First, we have goal-line technology, which as I said above I broadly support. But that’s not enough. The referees need extra help we were told. Fans drip-fed on the ‘fact’ that referee mistakes are to blame for their club losing fall into line and demand they want technology. 

According to many West Ham fans on social media, I include this site in that. West ham lost 8 points last season due to officials’ mistakes. They cried ‘we could have finished 7th with those and qualified for Europe. It is not fair. We Want VAR.’

Looking back you could see why many now would support its introduction, yet there was a recent study of every game last season and they used VAR in all those games to see if the results would have been the same. West Ham would have benefitted to the tune of……. 1 point. Not 8 points but 1, moving us into 9th, Instead of 10th. Why is that, I don’t hear you say. Well… because what a lot of fans forget is the old adage of swings and roundabouts. If we had just played on the swings we would have got 8 extra points, but we didn’t, we went on the roundabout, that meant VAR was used against us as well, evening out the playing field it seems.
 
 
Oh, has the game changed, or have I changed? 
Oh has the game changed, or have I changed? 
Some 90-year-old tough who peddles porn 
I swear to God 
I swear: I never even knew what porn were
So, I broke into the palace 
With a sponge and a rusty spanner 
Brady said: “Eh, I know you, and you cannot write”
I said: “That’s nothing – you should hear me on a podcast”
We can go for a walk where it’s quiet and dry 
And talk about football things 
But when you’re tied to Sullivan’s apron
No-one talks about castration

Now I get to a contentious bit for me and I make no apologies for this. I don’t think I’ve really pushed the fact I’m on Moore than Just a podcast on here. I prefer to keep those separate even though the lord of the manor is a welcome stand-in on the show when we are presenter lite. This week though I alluded on the podcast to an exchange of different views with a regular poster on here who hails from Romania. It seems some heard it and brought it into the discussion on here. As per usual, some chose to misconstrue what I said but nothing new there. But I stand by what I said and that is that during my anti-VAR rant I criticised him for the fact he claimed that VAR had not held up the game unduly.
Now the fact that I and those around me got frustrated with the delays says to me I knew there were delays and they were unduly lengthy. The internet is a great invention, and without it, you wouldn’t be reading this and 95% of those reading this that know me wouldn’t of, but, meanwhile, in TV land you are fed the constant replays, you get told what’s going on and that leads to some watching on TV thinking they can tell someone at the game, “I don’t know what your moaning about there wasn’t much of a holdup.”

As the (changed) song lyrics above say, has the game changed or have I changed? The answer to that is the game has changed and if VAR is kept it is not for the betterment of fans IN THE STADIUM
 
Past the pub who saps your body 
And the club who’ll snatch your money 
The Queen is dead, boys 
And it’s so lonely on a limb 
Past the pub that wrecks your body 
And the club – all they want is your money 
The Queen is dead, boys 
And it’s so lonely on a limb 

 
What is the point of professional football, for what reason is it played? Is it for entertainment to those in attendance or those at home on TV? Is it to fund players personal lifestyles or to create wealth for owners? Years ago, it seemed it was organised for the entertainment of the local population to cheer on the team that represented where they live. Now I’m stupid enough to think that is the case or should still be the case. But TV has gone in around 50 years from showing the highlights of one game to now controlling when and now how the game is played. The Queen that I knew is dead boys. 
 
 
Life is very long when you’re lonely (repeat 4 times)
 
(my thanks to Morrissey & Marr for the influence)

 
 


Talking Point

Left back in the changing room

The new football season brings along a fresh sense of optimism and I am often buoyant about West Ham’s chances. I watched the first 55 minutes on Saturday but elected to turn the television off when Gabriel Jesus scored City’s third which was eventually ruled out by VAR. I feared the worst after Sterling’s 51st minute goal, and you could tell the team were deflated by it.

I opted to go for a walk instead of watching the remainder of the second half, and I think I made a good decision. I could discuss the match but others have already written very good pieces on it. The immediate thoughts after receiving the full time result notification on my phone were definitely negative. However, the more I have read and thought about Saturday’s game, the more I think we must accept City’s brilliance as opposed to a totally abject performance from Pellegrini’s men. Guardiola’s team are outrageously clinical and you only needed to look at a bench that consisted of Aguero, Bernardo Silva, Cancelo etc. to know we were in for an extremely tough afternoon. City are a marvellous team but the game certainly highlighted areas we must improve on…

After the club announced Masuaku’s contract renewal, Pellegrini stated that he (Masuaku) ‘_is a player with excellent technical ability… we look forward to seeing him make a big contribution in the future._’ This quote goes a long way to explaining why the club did not invest in the left back position as seemingly the manager is happy moving forward with Masuaku and Cresswell. Cresswell had a poor game against the champions with four of the five goals coming from his left flank. It appears that the 2015 Hammer of the year has not been the same player following various niggling injuries. The explosive pace of Kyle Walker emphasised Cresswell’s inability to cope with opposing full backs and wingers with power and speed. Overall, neither Cresswell or Masuaku instil a great amount of confidence from a defensive point of view, therefore I would select Masuaku as he’s quicker and now offers more on the attacking end.

One of the positives from Saturday was the team’s new talisman, Sebastien Haller. The 25 year old won 2 aerial duels, had 90% pass accuracy and completed 4 tackles across the 90 minutes. The Frenchman will hope that against Brighton he receives better service as the team can carve out more opportunities than against the Cityzens. If the creative players as well as the full backs can provide good chances for Haller, I have every confidence he will score the goals.

I’m sure that upon reflection most fans will view Brighton away as the season properly starting! The result against Graham Potter’s men may well determine whether we are in for a distinctly average season wherein we lose to physical sides with less talent than us. Although, a good performance and a win against what appears to be a revitalised Brighton side would show character and provide optimism.

Under Chris Hughton’s stewardship, we had not beaten Brighton as he set the team up in a deep block looking for goals from set pieces. Glen Murray consistently scored against us and games against Brighton were becoming extremely frustrating. Speaking from limited experience and clearly at a much lower level of football, when you have to break down a team who are content to sit deep and counter, it can be very difficult. I have no doubt that Pellegrini told the team to continue dominating the ball and chances will come, and you definitely have to be patient. Under Graham Potter, Brighton look like a far more expansive side and they will try to keep the ball and attack us which may well favour us despite us struggling against them in the past. We could be in for an end to end game at the Amex stadium, and I’m quietly confident we might leave with 3 points.

Ultimately, while I think it could be easy to write the City defeat off entirely and just praise a magnificent team, I think and hope the manager knows we must work on the defence and staying concentrated for 90 minutes. However, City will beat numerous teams by 5 or 6 goals as in my opinion they comfortably finish ahead of Liverpool to win a third consecutive Premier League, so we should not lose too much sleep! I hope that Masuaku plays on Saturday, I hope that Anderson starts, I hope that Glen Murray gets sent off in the early exchanges so he cannot score against us! I also hope that Haller scores a hat-trick and we leave Brighton with an impressive 3 points and clean sheet, but as we all know it’s the hope that kills you…

My six a side team won 2-0 on Monday evening having lost last week in the first league game. Given that it’s holiday season, a few of my friends will not be available for the coming weeks, so numbers will be thin!

Hope everyone is well, and has a good week.


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