Scott McCarthy: You'd have to be from another planet not to recognise Brighton's world-class talent
Picture the scene. You were in the pub on Saturday night, enjoying a few pints of strong continental lager when you get chatting to a bloke.
After a while, he reveals that he is in fact an alien from one of the moons of Saturn and has popped down to Earth because he has heard great things about a sport called football. Football isn’t played on Saturn and you can’t get Sky Sports up there yet either, so he’s come to our planet in the hope of seeing a game.
How convenient you say, you’ve got a spare ticket to watch Brighton v Arsenal the following day.
Not only will he get the chance to live a lifelong dream of watching a match, but some of the best players in the world will be on show as well.
You tell him there will be a four-time winner of the Premier League’s Golden Glove award playing, a German World Cup winning creative midfielder, a Â£60m striker and one of the best managers in the history of the game, known for his attacking sides who play beautiful football.
Great he says, and the next day you both enjoy the Albion beating Arsenal 2-1. After the game, you ask him if he enjoyed watching some of the finest players on the planet carry out their craft?
And so he tells you Maty Ryan was excellent in goal, the German chap Gross was unplayable, Glenn Murray looks a bargain at Â£60m and Chris Hughton set up a side that played entertaining, attacking football.
Ah, except you weren’t talking about them, were you?
You were referring to Petr Cech, Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Arsene Wenger.
That’s how good Brighton were on Sunday, that an alien visitor would’ve thought that it was the Albion who were the world class players, not those lacklustre individuals in black shirts.
The alien might even bring a handmade sign next time he decided to go to a game asking for Gross, Murray or Lewis Dunk’s shirt as seems to be all the rage these days.
This ‘Brighton playing like a really good Premier League team’ thing isn’t a recent phenomenon. Ever since the criticism that was thrown around after we stuck every man behind the ball away at Southampton five weeks ago and scraped a draw, the Albion have played vibrant, attacking football with the result being four wins, a draw and 13 goals scored from the last five games.
Some would say that we aren’t getting the credit we deserve and they’ve got a point.
Had Manchester City produced the passing move that led to Jose Izquierdo’s goal at Stoke City, the nation’s pundits would’ve been waxing lyrical about it for example. Speaking of Izquierdo, his goal against West Ham United would be considered world class if it came from the boot of an Eden Hazard or an Alexis Sanchez.
On Sunday’s showing, the Albion looked every bit an established Premier League side. Two more wins from the next nine league games takes us to 40 points, the normal survival mark which takes us a step closer to not merely looking one, but becoming one.
And on Saturday’s showing, the sky’s the limit once we are established. Just ask that bloke from Saturn down the pub next time you see him.
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