Brighton produced a sublime attacking display to dispatch Swansea and climb away from the relegation zone, while the Swans slipped back into the bottom three as a result of their defeat at the Amex Stadium.

By 90Min
February 24, 2018

Brighton produced a sublime attacking display to dispatch Swansea and climb away from the relegation zone, while the Swans slipped back into the bottom three as a result of their defeat at the Amex Stadium.

Glenn Murray scored a penalty in a tight first-half which was edged by the hosts, but the Seagulls became more dominant as the game progressed. Murray, Anthony Knockaert and Jurgen Locadia added beautifully-worked goals after half-time as Brighton climbed four points clear of danger, despite Swansea's own goal consolation.

Swansea made no changes from the team which had beaten Burnley in their last Premier League match. Brighton made only one change from their draw at Stoke, bringing in Knockaert in place of Solly March. It meant that Locadia would have to wait for his first league start, despite scoring on his debut against Coventry last week.

The game started evenly and the first chance fell to the hosts. Knockaert's low cross from the byline found Pascal Gross at the far post and he had two chances to shoot, but refused the first and took too long on the second, and the resulting corner came to nothing.

The opening goal came within twenty minutes when Murray latched onto a long ball and made a dangerous run into the Swansea box. Mike van der Hoorn, trailing in his wake, clumsily clipped Murray's heels, and referee Mike Dean pointed to the spot. Murray dusted himself down to convert the spot-kick and give the Seagulls a precious lead.

Carlos Carvalhal clearly wasn't happy with Swansea's start, and made a tactical switch within 35 minutes, replacing Nathan Dyer with Andre Ayew. Brighton nearly doubled their lead before half-time, but Duffy's header hit the crossbar, and within a matter of moments it could have been 1-1.

Jordan Ayew's low drive struck the foot of Ryan's post, bounced back off the Australian keeper, and eventually fell to Martin Olsson, who somehow fired wide when it seemed easier to score. It was a breathless end to an entertaining half, and promised much for the second period.

Swansea started the second half as they had finished the first and Ki Sung-yueng's powerful shot from the edge of the box forced a fine save from Ryan. Brighton thought they had their second when Murray bundled in Knockaert's cross, but he was correctly ruled to be offside.

Brighton looked capable of scoring whenever they ventured forwards, particularly with the ball at Jose Izquierdo's feet. The lightning-quick Colombian found himself in space as he raced into the box, but his low cross couldn't be turned in by Murray. Murray then flashed a shot inches wide after some delightful play from the home side.

Swansea failed to heed repeated warnings and Brighton punished them thanks to the usual suspects. Izquierdo linked up with Gross, and this time his final ball was more considered. It was straight to Murray's feet, and the 34-year-old took his season's tally into double figures with a simple finish.

Brighton were starting to have fun, and their third goal was something to savour. Knockaert laid the ball off to Gross and then made his way into the box, before receiving a perfectly weighted return ball from the German. A cheeky finish with the outside of his boot left Fabianski rooted, and the party could well and truly begin.

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Murray was replaced to a standing ovation from the Amex as Locadia was given his Premier League debut. Swansea then scored a fine consolation as Tammy Abraham brushed off several challenges before his low shot deflected in off Lewis Dunk. It meant that Brighton's wait for a Premier League clean sheet in 2018 went on. 

But Brighton were not to be denied their happy ending. Man-of-the-match contender Izquierdo shrugged off Federico Fernandez before his cross eluded Locadia. However, Dale Stephens was on hand to give them a second chance, and his low ball was poked in by Locadia as his excellent start to his Brighton career continued.

It was a truly superb performance by the Seagulls, who had never scored four goals in a Premier League match before. It was particularly remarkable that this came against Swansea, who had conceded only five Premier League goals in 2018 before Saturday. 

Brighton are still only four points clear of the relegation zone but if they continue to play like this, they can start planning for another year in the top-flight. For Swansea, this was a wake-up call, and they still have plenty of work to do.

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