Brighton and Hove Albion returned to winning ways with a 2-0 victory over Bournemouth on Saturday afternoon.
The Seagulls made seven changes going into the game, including a first Premier League start of the season for Alireza Jahanbakhsh who gave Brighton the lead.
Dan Burn thought he had put the Seagulls 2-0 up after an hour but saw his goal ruled out by VAR for the slimmest of VAR margins.
Brighton did eventually get a second through Aaron Mooy to move further away from the relegation zone, condemning Bournemouth to a seventh defeat in their past nine Premier League games.
Alireza finally breaks Seagulls duck: Key stats from Brighton 2-0 Bournemouth…
- Alireza Jahanbakhsh scored his first Brighton goal in his 27th appearance across all competitions.
- In doing so he also became just the third Iranian to score in the Premier League, joining Andranik Teymourian and Ashkan Dejagah.
- It was also his first league goal for 601 days, previous scoring for AZ Alkmaar vs PEC Zwolle.
- Brighton have had 11 different goalscorers in the Premier League this season, only Liverpool (16) have had more.
- Brighton beat Bournemouth for the first time in 11 league games, a run which included a 5-0 defeat in this fixture last season.
- Bournemouth have lost seven of their past nine Premier League games, winning once.
Can Brighton build on this win?
The win over Bournemouth was Brighton’s sixth of the season and moves them up to 13th, at least until Saturday’s other games are played. But the big test for Brighton now is whether they can build on the victory.
The Seagulls have strung together consecutive league wins just once this season, following a 3-2 win over Everton with a 2-0 victory against Norwich City. But that preceded a three-game losing streak, albeit against Manchester United, Leicester City and Liverpool.
Prior to Saturday, Brighton’s last win came against Arsenal at the start of December, a victory that should have been used to gain momentum but two draws and then two defeats followed. But this could be Brighton’s best chance of stringing a positive run together. Up next is Chelsea at the Amex, with the Blues not in good form at all – regardless of their result against Arsenal on Sunday. If Brighton play without fear the can become the latest team to shock Frank Lampard’s side to start the new decade on a high.
Next five fixtures
01 January 2020: Brighton vs Chelsea (Premier League)
04 January 2020: Brighton vs Sheffield Wednesday (FA Cup)
11 January 2020: Everton vs Brighton (Premier League)
18 January 2020: Brighton vs Aston Villa (Premier League)
21 January 2020: Bournemouth vs Brighton (Premier League)
Is it time to start worrying about Bournemouth?
There’s no denying that Eddie Howe has done an excellent job at Bournemouth. When he started his second managerial spell with the Cherries in October 2012 they were 17th in League One, but ended the year second and gained promotion to the Championship; two seasons later, the Premier League.
Bournemouth’s first season in the Premier League was a tough one as they finished 16th but credit was given to Howe for his positive style of play and the promise the Cherries were showing. This was realised the following season as they finished in the top half of the table, scoring 55 goals – only bettered by six of the top seven that year.
Howe’s work saw him linked with a move away from Bournemouth, with Arsenal the most frequently tipped location though he always stayed put on the south coast. However, things have got tougher for Bournemouth as the years passed. In 2017/18 they had dropped down 12th and the following season, their fourth in the Premier League, brought further regression to 14th.
And now, 20 games into the 2019/20 campaign, Bournemouth currently sit 16th, just two points above the relegation zone and could be in the bottom three by the end of Saturday evening. The Cherries have won just five games so far this season, losing 10 with only Norwich and Aston Villa being beaten more in the top flight.
Next five fixtures Bournemouth
01 January 2020: West Ham vs Bournemouth (Premier League)
04 January 2020: Bournemouth vs Luton Town (FA Cup)
12 January 2020: Bournemouth vs Watford (Premier League)
0118January 2020: Norwich vs Bournemouth (Premier League)
21 January 2020: Bournemouth vs Brighton (Premier League)
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Player in focus: Alireza Jahanbakhsh
His arrival last season came with fairly high expectations, having finished the Eredivisie’s top scorer in his final campaign with AZ Alkmaar but Alireza Jahanbakhsh did not get going. He played 19 games in total in the Premier League amassing 1,022 minutes under Chris Hughton failed to score or record an assist, a drop from his 33 Eredivisie goal involvements in 2017/18.
Things only got worse following the departure of Chris Hughton and the start of the new campaign as Jahanbakhsh clearly struggled to impress Graham Potter. He had made just one Premier League appearance prior to Saturday, 22 minutes against Crystal Palace at the start of December and was only on the bench on five other occasions.
However, with the festive period once again bringing games in short periods of time Jahanbakhsh was handed an opportunity with his first Premier League start of the season. And he wasted very little time in making an impact.
Just three minutes into the game Jahanbakhsh opened the scoring for Brighton, drilling the ball low into the bottom right corner of the net, beating Aaron Ramsdale with the sheer power of his strike. Just moments before he had looked to test Bournemouth’s defence winning a corner, a sign of things to come.
In the immediate aftermath of the goal Jahanbakhsh looked overwhelmed by the moment, covering his face before being crowded by his teammates full of joy – even Mathew Ryan ran the length of the pitch to celebrate. But Jahanbakhsh wasn’t going to let his game be done there, the Iranian continued to cause problems for the visitors, taking four shots, completing three take-ons and making two tackles.
The rest of the Saturday’s Premier League action
- Newcastle 1-2 Everton: Dominic Calvert-Lewin continued his fine start under Carlo Ancelotti scoring twice to keep it two wins from two for the Italian .
- Southampton 1-1 Crystal Palace: Danny Ings scored his 12th goal of the season to help Southampton earn a point, after James Tomkins gave Palace the lead.
- Watford 3-0 Aston Villa: Nigel Pearson’s revolution continues at Vicarage Road with Troy Deeney scoring twice and Ismaila Sarr grabbing a third to move Watford just three points from safety.
- Norwich 2-2 Tottenham: Tottenham came from behind twice to earn a point against Norwich at Carrow Road, with VAR hitting headlines again for a Teemu Pukki disallowed goal.
- West Ham 1-2 Leicester: A much-changed Leicester side held off West Ham to return to winning ways, after back-to-back defeats against Manchester City and Liverpool.