It was always going to be; after three wins we were due a non-win result and with us playing the team that Sky, Brighton fans and most of the media had dearly hoped would be champions last season, I felt it was a fourth win too far.
Had we not been on telly and were playing a mid table / bottom half regular Premier League team (Stoke?) I’d have been more optimistic.
It’s easy to criticise plays, formation and tactics once we’ve lost but I can’t be the only season ticket holder who is mystified how Perez gets an almost guaranteed start and 90 minutes pitch time. Too many times his passing was inaccurate or shaky in possession. He does not have the stature, pace or creativity to justify automatic selection in my view. I accept he’s had a few better games of late but not enough in my mind. If you were watching Perez would you sit up and think he’d be a good signing for us?
Dare I say it, if he wasn’t Spanish would he be gone by now or told he has no future? Perhaps he would have been replaced if Ashley would provide funds but there’s a good reason why our Number 9 almost left us, albeit for price haggling, but as far as I’m aware there was no serious offer for Perez.
The full-backs were largely nullified in this game and Mbemba was the only player Brighton stood off to force us to play it to him as the out ball. He is no ball player and is another who is probably not in Rafa’s long-term plans. I also noticed at least once Yedlin jogging back having just lost the ball which led to a Brighton cross. I will be interested to see the miles covered stats of both teams, Brighton looked like they put in a bigger shift than us today.
I’ve been looking forward to seeing Shelvey and Merino play together but I had hoped with one of them in an advanced position as number 10 where Perez plays. Instead Perez stayed on and Shelvey & Merino tried to both play deep which didn’t really work in my view. They ended up alongside one another often in our half or centre circle, long balls being pinged up over the top for Gayle to chase.
Did we deserve something from the game? Possibly, first half we made some decent chances which weren’t taken. Once the inevitable scrappy goal was scored it just felt like Brighton would hold on for what may well be a rare home win. I will be amazed if we finish below Brighton and I would think we will win more home games than Brighton over the course of the season.
So, mini bubble burst, Sky happy and no doubt wetting themselves in anticipation of back to back defeats for us after Liverpool next Sunday.
(Alan Shearer’s reaction to Newcastle defeat HERE)
(Small-time Brighton journalist trolls Newcastle fans and they respond, read it HERE)
(Go HERE to read instant Newcastle fan/writer reaction to the defeat at Brighton)
(Read Chris Hughton’s post-match reaction HERE)