Brighton on a roll, but can they grab crucial points at Old Trafford?

A derby win is greeted with mad excitement for any football fan, beating local rivals to edge closer away from the relegation zone and dragging them a little bit nearer to you is all the more sweeter.

For Brighton & Hove Albion fans things to smile about have been few and far between. Having not finished in the top half of the Premier League since their promotion 2017, Seagulls fans are used to scrapping away for points to remain in the top flight but are now expecting the club to deliver more and push on.

Having dispensed with the services of Chris Hughton on the back of a poor run of results in 2019, Graham Potter was brought in to change the philosophy on the pitch as well as off it but things aren’t showing to be a huge improvement on the pitch.

In the midst of another battle to retain their Premier League status, the win over free-falling Southampton was vital in their quest to stay up. Tactically Potter got this one right and although some will point to the fact the Saints are decimated with injuries you can still only beat the eleven players put in front of you.

The Seagulls never concede a lot of goals, indeed only five games have they had three or more goals scored against them, defensively they are quite a tight unit, but at the other end of the park struggling to score goals is why they find themselves working harder to stay in the division.

That is reflected well with centre half Lewis Dunk the second top scorer with just four behind Neal Maupay with seven, it shows how hard the Seagulls have it to win games.

Easy on the eye with the amount of possession they can control within matches it falls down far too easily in the final third when they need it the most. Maupay hasn’t quite re-captured the form he showed last season whilst Danny Welbeck and Aaron Connolly have both suffered an injury interrupted season.

This coming weekend sees one of their biggest games of the season as they host fellow strugglers Newcastle Utd at the Amex Stadium. A point really isn’t much good to either side with an in-form Fulham just below them waiting to pounce on any mistake by either of these two sides. 

A win for the Albion will bring another three sides closer to them with between and eight and nine games left for all teams but knowing that they looked a little safer a few weeks ago with back to back wins over Tottenham and Liverpool they can’t win this one and then rest easy again.

There are tough tests to come after the international break with games against three of the current top five in Manchester Utd, Everton, and Chelsea before facing bottom of the table Sheffield Utd at the end of the month, a haul of more than three points are needed from those four games.

Forty points is likely to be the benchmark to survive once again at which point the Seagulls will need eight more if they beat Newcastle this weekend, their run of fixtures for the final two months of the season would suggest they will just about get over the line.

This summer recruitment needs to be pushed on to enable the Albion to make moves into the middle reaches of the table, they are almost seemingly comfortable as a Premier League club but at some stage they need to be more assertive, supporters will not entertain surviving relegation as a benchmark every season.

Follow Trevor on Twitter @trevk37