Garth Crooks says Brighton look odds-on to stay up but questions why Albion fans don't sing Chris Hughton's name more

Jose Izquierdo gives Albion the lead at Stoke. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)
Jose Izquierdo gives Albion the lead at Stoke. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

BBC pundit Garth Crooks feels Brighton are now odds-on to stay in the Premier League this season.

Crooks named Albion goalkeeper Mathew Ryan and winger Jose Izquierdo in his weekly team of the week and now says the club look like they will stay in the top flight. He has previously said on several occasions that he did not think they would have enough to finish out of the bottom three.

Mathew Ryan celebrates his late penalty save. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

Mathew Ryan celebrates his late penalty save. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

In November, he had said: "I keep looking at Brighton's results, and their current position in the Premier League, with utter disbelief. When I saw the Seagulls play Manchester City in their opening fixture, I was convinced they would struggle to get 20 points."

Brighton are 14th in the Premier League after Saturday's 1-1 draw at Stoke. Jose Izquierdo gave Albion the lead after a flowing team move but Xherdan Shaqiri levelled on 68 minutes.


In a dramatic finish, Mathew Ryan saved a Charlie Adam penalty, before Lewis Dunk prevented Adam from scoring the rebound and Anthony Knockaert then headed a Mame Diouf header off the line.


Talking about naming Izquierdo in his team of the week, Crooks said: "He's only gone and done it again. Admittedly his goal against Stoke wasn't quite as fantastic as his finish against West Ham, but it still left Jack Butland clutching at fresh air.


"I had real reservations about the wisdom in Brighton purchasing Izquierdo but he looks like he's starting to acclimatise to life in the Premier League and he certainly has the talent.


"Brighton now look odds-on to stay up. However, I hope they don't just become perennial survivors. It's a great place to go and watch a football match. On the odd occasion I do go, I notice their fans are capable of creating a great atmosphere.


"What I don't understand is why they don't chant Chris Hughton's name during their games more. I really don't get it. If fans don't chant the manager's name every now and then, how do you think he feels?"


On selecting Ryan, Crooks said: "What a penalty save by Mat Ryan. Charlie Adam struck it well, but a strong hand from the Brighton keeper delivered the Seagulls a valuable point against a Stoke side in greater need.


"Why Jese felt compelled to behave like a spoilt child when denied the chance to take the penalty only served to expose his selfishness. In my view he was lucky to be awarded the spot-kick in the first instance. If Adam is the official penalty-taker then, unless he thinks otherwise, he takes the penalty. Brighton seem devoid of such petulance, but not the kind of heroism portrayed by Ryan."


Crooks' full team of the week was Ryan; Zabaleta, van Dijk, Vertonghen; Izquierdo, De Bruyne, Sigurdsson, Arnautovic; Kane, Aguero, Salah.