Liverpool and Man City were free hits but Brighton must bounce back at Southampton
Way back in August 2017 at the beginning of the Albion’s Premier League adventure, I wrote of the ‘free hit’ scenario.
The series of games, home and away, against Manchester City, United, Liverpool, Spurs, Arsenal, Chelsea and, back then for some bizarre reason, Everton.
Fourteen games, 42 points, from which the Albion would see any kind of return as a bonus.
Obviously in the three seasons, the ‘free hit’ has seen a return, back to back home wins against United, a home draw with Spurs followed by the emphatic win at the Amex earlier this season, a New Year’s Day draw with Chelsea and of the course the first ever ‘double’ against Arsenal.
Maybe the anticipated return of Wayne Rooney and some other Goodison Park marquee signings clouded my judgement over Everton back in 2017, but to a degree the ‘free hit’ scenario is still very much in operation.
Project Restart saw four such games at the Amex on the bounce: Arsenal, as previously mentioned provided a much deserved double, but then United, Liverpool and City all rolled up in Sussex to play the Albion behind closed doors. Three defeats, 11 goals conceded against one scored.
A reality check if ever one was needed, but by the same token still part of the free hit category, so not all doom and gloom.
Basically United have turned a corner and are looking like they will mount a serious challenge next season, Liverpool are arguably the best team in the world and Manchester City stand an extremely good chance of winning the Champions League this season.
The key, as always, is bouncing back, the Albion, courtesy of key ‘restart’ results at Leicester and Norwich, are not going down on 36 points, but something from the last three games, visits to Southampton and Burnley, with an Amex date with Newcastle sandwiched in between, is imperative.
The Albion learnt a long time ago that is no easy game in the Premier League, but some encouraging signs even in defeat against Liverpool, and other performances in the restart, indicate they can get something from the next 360 minutes.
Prediction time, so I think a draw at St Mary’s and all three points against the Toon.
Last week we had the welcome return of Test cricket, with England and the West Indies providing an extremely entertaining five days down at the Ageas Bowl.
Sky commentator Sir Michael Holding made an very good observation when he speculated that the first Test match of the summer, despite being played behind closed doors, was probably the most watched game in the history.
There was simply no other cricket played anywhere in the world last week, and the game was shown live not just in this country, but right around the globe.
The TV audience will have run into millions, and probably the definitive figure will never be arrived at.
There won’t be millions watching around Sussex this weekend but equally as important for many will be the return of recreational cricket.
A series of friendlies come in the next couple of weeks before the eagerly anticipated start of the Summer Cup, with all our local sides locking horns with each other for cricketing bragging rights.
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