We Are Right Back In It - Notes for Brighton
Friday, 21st Mar 2014 10:08 by HarryFromBath
HarryfromBath assesses the mood in the opposition camp ahead of Saturday's game by delving into their forums.
"Will 74 points be enough to get us in the play-offs?", "We're so unpredictable. There's no way of getting your melon around what might happen", "It's going to be a nerve-wracking fight to the line, great and awful at the same time", "These are days we should be relishing as Albion fans."
The Seagulls have lost just once in seven league games and come into Saturday's game having recorded 2-0 wins at home to QPR last Tuesday week and at the Reebok last Saturday. "Seven points from Reading and QPR and away to Bolton represents a very good week's work."
"The miracle is that we are still in the hunt for the play-offs despite a very ineffective attack and a distinct lack of quality in the final third. This is thanks to our style of play, keeping possession and protecting a well-organised defence."
"Oscar is still learning about his squad. He's looking for the right blend of players across his team, and his trust in youth is admirable", "I hope he's here for the next 10 years", "Given what he has inherited and had to work with, the fact that we are where we are is a bloody miracle."
"I don't think we know him at all", "I can't help but admire his lack of histrionics." Supporters admire their undemonstrative manager, but several have felt let down by the fact that "his actions do not correspond with his attacking philosophy", something he referred to when appointed last summer.
"We don't have the personnel for ultra-attacking football so we have made ourselves hard to beat. It's boring to watch, but we've got the same points total as this time last season", "If Oscar can do that with all the injuries we've had and no pre-season, imagine what we can do without those obstacles."
Gus in slow motion
"Doesn't the number of times we have put the ball in the net this season prompt the questioning of Oscar's cautious tactics?" "Keeping it tight for an hour and attacking late on in games has worked recently, but it has to work a lot to get us in the top six."
Brighton's recent home win over QPR left many Seagulls frustrated with what many fans viewed as familiar wary tactics. Playing 4-3-3 with a narrow midfield trio, they contained Harry Redknapp's team for over an hour, before scoring two late goals as errors crept into the visitors' play.
"I'd rather see us win games and chase an automatic promotion place than play tippy-tappy football around the halfway line – which can be stunning - and register one or two attempts on target during 90 minutes."
"Watching us this season can be tedious, and that's when we play okay", "I've not seen another side that can out-pass us. A lot of the stuff we play is indeed tedious – the constant passing across the back line, for example – but it is wonderful to watch when the Albion are on form."
"We are outstanding defensively, even better than we were under Gus and that's saying something", "The most pleasing thing is that our defence is as tight as a duck's ass." With just 28 goals conceded in 35 league games, the Gulls boast the strongest defensive record in the division.
"Bolton had scored nine goals in two games", "The unstoppable force meets an immovable object", "Another clean sheet", "I thought we kept the ball very well, not always going forward, but just keeping possession and keeping Bolton out", "Our defensive organisation is excellent."
In goal, former Manchester United keeper Tomasz Kuszczak, a Town target in the summer of 2012, "is a major part of the meanest defence in the division", "Hats off to Tomasz, I think he's immense", "He's very assured", "He is unruffled, commands his box well and deals comfortably with crosses. He's a safe pair of hands."
There is one regular criticism of the 31-year-old Poland international. "His shot stopping is Premier League, but his distribution is Conference standard", "His distribution isn't getting any better", "His kicking is suspect, and he needs to throw the ball on more than one occasion."
At right-back, 33-year-old Spaniard Bruno "is an insanely mixed bag, but overall it is well worth having him in the side", "He's a class player, and any defensive frailties are far outweighed by his ability to open up attacks down the right wing." He set up a goal against Bolton with a "sublime cross".
The former Valencia player was inconsistent in the QPR game. "Bruno was fantastic going forward but at times backed off Hoilett. There comes a point when you have to stand your ground", "His defending was awful, backing off and getting caught in possession."
"I hope we can persuade Stephen Ward to stay at the end of the season", "Nothing comes down his side", "He is rarely troubled and makes some decent runs down the left", "Mr Consistency", "He kept a tight rein on Bolton's attacks."
The 28-year-old Republic of Ireland international is on loan from Wolves this season. "He has been our most consistent player this season", "He is solid both back and forward, unlike Bruno", "He does well attacking and defending although his shooting can be wayward."
"Gordon Greer can look good, but is making more mistakes. That showed against Reading (when he was red carded). His giving the ball away led to us possibly dropping two points." The 33-year-old former Swindon man "is having more bad days than good, which is worrying".
"I rate Greer. He is comfortable on the ball and capable of a cracking long pass every so often", "How anyone can say he is being carried for the past few seasons is beyond comprehension." Many Seagulls are supporting of the Scotland international. "He's inspirational at the heart of defence."
"Gordon is a good player, but unfortunately still plays like he's playing for Gus. He moves the ball backwards and sideways whereas Dunk looks to get the ball forward quicker. Dunk will score goals from corners, whereas Greer hardly gets his head on anything."
"Lewis Dunk is the best young defender I've seen at Brighton." The 22-year-old youth product "gets stuck in and throws himself in front of the ball. He's a proper defender", "He has done very well since coming into the side", "He gives us a bit more composure on the ball and takes really solid positions."
"While it's great that Dunk got some game time and a chance to develop, Upson should be back with Greer next week." The former England, West Ham and Stoke defender missed last week's win over the Terriers due to an illness.
"He's our most important defender, but he's the least comfortable on the ball", "He does not put a foot or a head wrong." The 34-year-old Suffolk-born player "was his usual dependable self" against QPR. "He's looking favourite for player of the season on his current form".
"It was interesting that when Freedman brought on another forward and went 4-4-2, we were able to dominate possession and keep possession much more easily", "We controlled the game with three against two in the middle", "It's still a concern how little we create sometimes."
"Against QPR, Oscar put a combative midfield together to deal with possibly the best midfield we will face all season. It cost us our creativity when we did try to counter", "We were clearly set up to be defensive."
"Jake Forster-Caskey has bags of potential, but is too lightweight and tends to go missing in games whenever we're not on top." The 19-year-old youth product "always wants the ball, but his decision making is a bit suspect sometimes", "On his game, he can be a real threat going forward."
"Jake keeps running into dead ends." His inexperience can show. "He popped up all over the place on occasions [against Bolton], but I would rather there were a few more occasions", "He always puts in a serious shift and leads the pressing pack. He's tidy in possession and uses his body well to shield the ball."
"A fit Andrea Orlandi would be a great asset to the team, but he's so fragile it's a joke." The 29-year-old ex-Swansea man "is more likely to create or score a goal and he gets involved. Andrea is two weeks in the Seychelles. Forster-Caskey is a pleasant but uninspiring long weekend in the New Forest".
"I love it when youngsters come through, and Solomon March is a very good prospect. He could be a bit more decisive, but that will come with experience." The 19-year-old former youth player has featured as a substitute. "He scares opponents on the ball and gets stuck in. I like this lad."
"Dale Stephens will score against Ipswich. You heard it here first." The 29-year-old joined the Gulls from Charlton in the January transfer window. "He is everywhere and picks up loads of loose balls", "I would like to see him impose himself on games a little more, but that will come with time."
"Stephens is going to be some player for us, mark my words. He could be the best bit of business the club has done in a long, long time", "He offers great support at both ends of the pitch", "He's relatively tight in the middle", "I think we could have a real gem on our hands."
The former ITFC loan signing and Republic of Ireland international missed the game against Bolton Wanderers, his parent club last Saturday. The loan signing "looks like a player past his best. The brain knows what to do but the body won't let him".
"He protects the back four well at times, but he's no Liam Bridcutt", "He did better when played deeper in the second half against QPR", "He seems more like a defender and not a playmaker." The 33-year-old "is wasted being so far forward. He's not an attacking player".
"I'm still getting used to the sight of Ince striding across the pitch", "He seems to rush his decisions on the ball. He needs to realise how big and strong he is and how he can really dominate a midfield", "He concedes possession sloppily at times, but he is mostly very commanding."
The 21-year-old holding midfielder was a Chelsea youth product and is now a regular starter. "He is still often as elegant as Eric Pickles, but so often he comes away with the ball and makes the right pass that you just can't knock it", "The big midfielder is a real presence and loves to get stuck in."
"He breaks up play well, but always improves in the second half", "He was poor in the first half [against Bolton] and better in the second", "His major weakness has been winning balls in the air, and doing something with it, but he has looked better here recently."
"I'd like to see us start with two wingers, although I doubt that this will ever happen", "We don't seem to be the same team without pace and width in our side." The Brighton manager often starts games with wide players who will link play well, often trying pace and width later in games.
"I can't understand why Oscar persists with David Lopez on the right wing. He's a midfield playmaker." There is one constant criticism of ‘Spanish Dave', the 31-year-old former Athletic Bilbao player. "He's complete rubbish when it comes to the physical side of the game. Get stuck in, man!"
"Dave is not a ball winner, but does have vision and can play some sublime passes", "You can't chicken out of easy tackles", "He pulls out of tackles, but his free kicks are ace", "He could break the world record for jumping out of tackles if he played in the middle."
"Kazenga Lua Lua scares the s**** out of defenders", "QPR panicked when threatened by his pace." The 23-year-old former Magpie "always changes the game when brought on", "As a substitute he is devastating. He made a huge impact against QPR."
"Lingard is a real threat. The Manchester United loanee is a real box of tricks", "He's wasted out wide. He needs to be running at central defenders", "He's very good with his feet, but is lightweight", "He's a really useful loan signing and does enhance the team."
The 21-year-old played on loan at Birmingham City in the first half of the season. "He's still not on the same wavelength as Ulloa, but is very lively. It will be interesting if and when he two of them click", "I would like to see him in the hole behind Leo", "He adds tempo to our attacking play."
"Call me an ambulance. Four goals in two games. My heart can't take this excitement. Five shots on target in one game. ‘kin hell!" "Our confidence in front of goal has been lacking in recent games", "We're not very good at putting our chances away."
"We're being held together by our defensive record, but you can't go into every game thinking that if we go 1-0 down, the best we can hope for is a draw", "It sounds very simplistic, but having the ability to put the ball in the net is what counts."
"Have we turned a corner getting Buckley fit again?", "He's the best finisher at this club. It's good to have him back." The 24-year-old former Hornet scored both goals in the win over the Trotters, having been nursed back from a hamstring injury he picked up before Christmas.
"At last Will is looking like the player we all know he can be. Please stay fit!", "I thought he was looking back to his best against QPR", "He has faded in and out of games as he has built his fitness, and has seemed to tire at points."
"We are very dependent on Ulloa. If he stays fit, we could get there, but if he gets injured there is no natural replacement, and we would have to change our playing style", "You cannot employ just one player capable of putting the ball in the net and expect to go up."
The 27-year-old Argentine striker has been praised for his work rate as much as for his 12 goals this season. "He had no proper chances [against Bolton] but gave a master class in hold-up play", "His first touch has been much better lately."
"His link-up play has been the key to our recent form. Ulloa has been holding the ball up and bringing players like Lingard and Buckley into the game as they catch up. He can slot it or tap it with one touch as they run past him on to it. It has brought back something that has been missing for a long time."
Seagulls' Views on ITFC and the Game
"Why do people think this game will be a walk-over? Ipswich are a very solid team and are very difficult to beat. I think that we will win, but why are people thinking we will stuff them? They are capable of beating anyone on their day."
A forecast poll on one site had 101 Gulls forecasting a home win and just four anticipating a win for us. "Ipswich will come at us as it's a must win for them", "They are pants, although I'm slightly worried about the Jonny Williams factor."
"Ipswich aren't very good. These four games [starting with Wigan last week] will see them out of the race", "Spot on. They are a very poor side. I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't lose all of those games", "Without McGoldrick they are toothless. I'm not holding out much hope for them."
The busiest Seagulls message board is North Stand Ctat.
Photo: Action Images
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