By 90Min
October 05, 2018

Brighton & Hove Albion secured three huge points to bring West Ham firmly back to earth in Friday night's crunch fixture. 

After two successive defeats, Brighton returned to winning ways, securing their first clean sheet of the season in the process. 

The first half was played at lightening speed as both sides searched for the opening goal in a tightly contested match. The game's first notable chance took thirteen minutes to arrive, Marko Arnautovic firing a fierce volley goal bound only to see it ricochet out for a corner.

However, just ten minutes later, Brighton's Glenn Murray proved once again why he's West Ham's hoodoo man, calmly diverting the ball into the far corner past Lukasz Fabianski to send the Brighton fans into raptures - his sixth goal in seven appearances against the Hammers.

A slightly rejuvenated West Ham appeared out the tunnel much earlier than their counterparts for the second half, and really took the game to the hosts. Fabián Balbuena missed an absolute sitter, ultimately proving costly as Brighton took the spoils in this closely contested game.

Brighton & Hove Albion 

Key Talking Point

Glenn Murray, despite being one of the elder statesmen on the pitch, showed that age is merely a number. Murray put in a really classy performance, showing time and time again that ingenuity can make up for a lack of pace, with some fans on Twitter even suggesting Gareth Southgate should take note.

Consistently finding clever areas of space, Murray was able to win smart free kicks but also bring his teammates into space effectively. It seemed almost a certainty that he would add to his phenomenal record against West Ham – coming into the game with five in six games. 

In the end it was all too easy, as Murray drifted into the six yard box unmarked to coolly place the ball beyond the outstretched arm of Fabianski. Perhaps Murray has a natural knack to arrive at the right time, at the right place...or West Ham are bad at defending.

Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

Player Ratings: Ryan (6), Bruno (7), Duffy (6), Dunk (6), Bong (7), Knockaert (7), Propper (7), Kayal (7), March (7), Jahanbakhsh (7), Murray (8)*

Substitutes: Bissouma (6), Locadia (6) Izquierdo (6)

Star Man

Glenn Murray

All that needs to be said has been said already. Murray was fantastic and rightly deserves the plaudits coming his way. He may not be getting any younger, but he more than proved his worth.

Worst Performer

Solly March

It just wasn't March's night. There was nothing wrong with his application, he worked hard but it never really got going for him. His final ball was never quite up to scratch, and in fact the game could've been dead and buried for Brighton had he found a teammate.

West Ham United

Key Talking Point

After truly running riot against Manchester United in their last fixture, many would have expected the Hammers to turn up the heat once again, but that wasn't the case. 

After a sustained period of pressure in the first half, the Hammers looked more likely to play knock and run rather than actually make a breakthrough. 

Balbuena missed an absolute sitter to level the two teams, and West Ham just seemed to lack any clinical edge throughout the 90 minutes, albeit not for a lack of trying. The international break allows Manuel Pellegrini the chance to rejuvenate his squad after succumbing to the highs of beating Manchester United to the lows of losing to Brighton.

Player Ratings: Fabianski (6), Masuaku (4), Diop (6), Balbuena (5), Zabaleta (6), Rice (6), Anderson (6), Obiang (5), Noble (6), Yarmolenko (6), Arnautovic (7)

Substitutes: Antonio (6), Lucas (6) Snodgrass (6)

Star Man

Marco Arnautovic was one of few West Ham players who can leave the pitch with their head held high after Friday night's result. A constant threat to the Brighton box, Arnautovic just didn't have the necessary luck to get the goal he deserved.

Although, he did miss a glorious chance in injury time, much to the displeasure of the West Ham fans.

Worst Player

Arthur Masuaku

At fault for the Brighton goal, the Hammers defender looked a shade of the player he was last weekend against Manchester United. 

Seemingly rattled by Murray getting goalside of him to score the sole goal of the game, Masuaku never really recovered and will certainty be welcoming the international break.

Looking Ahead
After the excitement of this game out the way, both clubs can look forward to a two week international break. Both Chris Hughton and Manuel Pellegrini will welcome the opportunity to rest players, but also work on some fundamental issues on the training ground. 

Once domestic action returns, Brighton go up against Newcastle at St James' Park before entertaining high flyers Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Amex Stadium. Both games present a big challenge for Hughton's boys, but with their second win of the season and first clean sheet in the bag, the Seagulls will be full of confidence.

After tasting defeat again, West Ham face further challenges ahead. They welcome Tottenham Hotspur to the London Stadium after the international break before facing a tough away task at Leicester City and may need all the help they can get.

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