Brighton and Hove Albion deal hammer blow to West Ham’s Champions League hopes

Posted On 15 May 2021 at 10:11 pm

Brighton & Hove Albion 1 West Ham United 1

This was a match that really sprung into life on around 83 minutes and before that was really about one team desperate to win but not quite good enough and another who have had a long hard season mostly in the bottom six.

But they were a team who have never really looked going down as there were three teams considerably worse than they were.

In fact, if Albion had performed to their expected goals calculations they could have been pushing for at least a Europa League spot.

Albion started brightly as ever but on this occasion created very few early chances. A Pascal Gross cross that flashed along the six-yard box was one of the best chances.

Yves Bissouma had a bit of a battle with former Albion loanee Jesse Lingard which saw the Seagulls midfielder get an early yellow card.

West Ham grew into the match as the half bore, sorry, wore on – Mikail Antonio saw a header loop along the six-yard box and Aaron Cresswell started to have more influence.

After a period of Hammers possession, Creswell saw an effort beaten away by Albion keeper Robert Sanchez. Jarred Bowen was also coming into the game more and trying to create chances both for Pablo Fornals – one hitting Adam Webster near the arm but VAR ruled out any excitement. Then Fornals had another effort cleared away by Ben White.

As Lewis Dunk wasn’t on the pitch, it was inevitable that Gareth Southgate was in the stand – but it was Albion’s Iranian Alireza Jahanbakhsh who caught the eye as he created several opportunities to score, drawing good saves from Lukasz Fabianski.

Jahanbakhsh ran on to a ball from White and flicked it past the on-rushing Fabianski, only to see it limp past the far post.

Despite Florin Andone being on the bench, it was Percy Tau who was the stand-out substitution, replacing Leandro Trossard. Tau looked lively immediately he took to the pitch and culminated his appearance with a brilliant through ball for Danny Welbeck to run on to and flick the ball over Fabianski to put Albion in front with seven minutes left to play.

However, as has been the story of the season, three minutes later a cross from Vladimir Coufal caused the Albion defence problems. White and Webster appeared to collide, White stayed down and West Ham substitute Said Benrahma curled an equaliser past Sanchez.

Just before Welbeck’s goal, Craig Dawson had planted an easy-looking header wide of the post.

Albion have accumulated 38 points and need four from their final two matches to exceed their previous best total of 41.

With Manchester City visiting the Amex on Tuesday 18 May and then a trip to Arsenal next Sunday, a record-breaking points haul might be unlikely – although an unprecedented fifth consecutive top flight season is already in the bag.

All the Seagulls have to do now is find that elusive 20 goal-a-season striker or another three worse teams.

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