Gameweek 37 of the Premier League kicked-off on Friday night, as Brighton recorded a 1-0 home win over second-place Manchester United. The win means that the Seagulls reached the 40-point mark in the table and safety.
The team from the south coast are eight points clear of 18th-place Southampton and 17th-place Swansea. However, the pair plays each other in one of the remaining games, which means that Chris Hughton’s side are safe. The Seagulls could still finish in the top-ten, although they are currently outsiders to clinch a top-half spot this season.
United offered the first real threat on goal, as Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini saw a goal chalked off for offside. At the other end of the pitch, United ‘keeper David de Gea produced a stunning save from a 25-yard half-volley from veteran striker Glenn Murray. The Red Devils Player of the Year also produced good saves from Jose Izquierdo and Pascal Gross, as the home looked the more likely team to break the deadlock.
Brighton goalkeeper Mat Ryan was called into action earlier in the second half producing a fine save from a low Paul Pogba strike on goal. The Seagulls scored the only goal on 57 minutes. Izquierdo’s cross found Gross six yards out from goal and the playmaker’s header went just over the goal-line, despite Marcos Rojo’s despairing efforts to keep it out. The Goal-line Decision System confirmed that the ball had crossed the line.
The home side came close to doubling their lead through Izquierdo, whose effort went just past the far post. United forward Anthony Martial fired just wide. Martial was also involved in creating an opportunity for substitute Jesse Lingard, after a nice one-two with the latter miscuing an effort on goal.
The defeat leaves Manchester United second place in the Premier League table, five points clear of third-place Liverpool in the race for second-place. The result also means that the Red Devils suffered just their second defeat in 19 encounters with the Seagulls in all competitions. The loss also means that Jose Mourinho’s side has lost at all three promoted teams for the first time in the Premier League era. The Portuguese boss was unhappy with his team and criticised the fringe players he fielded, saying that the performance shows why they do not play more often.
Survival big achievement for Brighton
Winning promotion last season after years of trying and failing to make the Premier League was a major achievement for Brighton. However, staying in the English top-flight this season maybe equals that achievement.
Seagulls boss became the first Brighton boss to win the Manager of the Month award in the Premier League earlier this season. The former-Newcastle boss deserves immense credit for the job he has done on the south coast.
The Seagulls started the campaign as one of the favourites for relegation. However, they have defied the odds to secure another campaign in the top tier of English football.
Can Brighton now establish themselves as a steady Premier League club?