Premier League Safety & FA Cup Run: The Ideal Season for Brighton

 

Brighton & Hove Albion are five points clear of the relegation zone and into the 5th Round of the FA Cup. It’s safe to say that it’s been another satisfying season under the management of Chris Hughton.

The Seagulls booked their place in the 5th Round of the FA Cup, after Glenn Murray decided the tie against West Bromwich Albion with an extra-time brace. They’ll meet Derby County on 16 February, who defeated Southampton and Accrington Stanley respectively to reach this stage.
After the 3-1 win at The Hawthorns, Hughton said, “We made hard work of it – we got into some really good positions but found ourselves 1-0 down. But once the tie turned a little bit, I thought we showed our quality.”
This rather aptly summarizes the season that Brighton & Hove Albion have had in the Premier League. Although they’ve created promising opportunities, they sometimes haven’t received the results that their performances have merited. Yet, they’ve accumulated the points to separate themselves from the relegation contenders.
Chris Hughton has done a grand job with the resources at his disposal and to combine Premier League safety with another FA Cup run speaks volumes of the work he’s done at the club.

Another FA Cup Adventure

Brighton reached the quarter-final of the FA Cup during the 2017/18 season – defeating local rivals Crystal Palace in the 3rd Round along with Middlesbrough and Coventry City in the 4th and 5th Round respectively.
They subsequently succumbed to victory against Manchester United at Old Trafford, but it was a proud achievement for the club to reach the latter stages of the tournament. They’ll be hoping to improve on that performance in the current campaign and a victory against Derby County will be a big step in the right direction.
Commenting on the task ahead, Hughton stated, “We’ve got a home tie against Derby and they’ve shown their real quality against teams outside their division. I don’t think we can look at it as a comfortable game for us. It will be a tough game and they will raise their levels against us.
“We’ll need to show a little bit more than what we showed today, certainly in the final third. But it’s good to be back at home and it’s a good opportunity for us.”
The Seagulls have shown real quality in the FA Cup this season. Although they were forced into a replay by West Brom, they comprehensively defeated Premier League opposition AFC Bournemouth in the 3rd Round and they have every right to feel optimistic about being potential FA Cup dark horses.
It’s been a rather strange FA Cup this season considering the amount of teams outside the Premier League reaching the last 32 of the competition. There are currently nine Football League clubs remaining in the tournament and this could be beneficial for Brighton if they’re able to progress against Derby.

Securing Premier League Safety

Brighton will return to Premier League action on Saturday with a crucial fixture against Burnley at the Amex Stadium.
The Clarets are just three points behind them and three points will surely eradicate any chances of Brighton slipping into the relegation battle.
Fortunately, The Seagulls have a rather favourable set of fixtures on paper to close the 2018/19 season. Although they still have four of the Top 6 to play, Brighton have fixtures against the likes of Leicester City, Huddersfield Town, Crystal Palace, Cardiff City, Southampton, AFC Bournemouth and Newcastle United.
I’m convinced that they’ll accumulate enough points to comfortably survive relegation and potentially even pursue a late attempt at finishing inside the top half.
They’re currently six points adrift of the top half and five points clear of the relegation zone, so you could argue that their fate hangs in the balance, but their strong defence combined with the talismanic talent of Glenn Murray will get them over the line.

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