Six things we learned from Brighton's defeat to Leicester

Glenn Murray challenges Riyard Mahrez. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)
Glenn Murray challenges Riyard Mahrez. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

Albion paid the penalty for missed chances in their 2-0 defeat to Leicester this afternoon. Here's six things we learned from the game.

Paying the penalty

Kasper Schmeichel. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

Kasper Schmeichel. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

Albion paid the penalty for missed chances as two late goals took Leicester to victory at the Amex this afternoon.

Top-scorer Glenn Murray had a gilt-edged opportunity in the first half when he beat the offside trap but fired wide of the goal with just Kasper Schmeichel to beat shortly before half-time.

Murray, who had netted six goals in as many games at the Amex heading into the match, had an even better chance on 77 minutes. Albion were awarded a penalty as Jose Izquierdo was brought down by Harry Maguire but Murray - who also missed a penalty in the Seagulls' 0-0 draw with Burnley in December - saw his spot-kick saved by Schmeichel diving to his left.

Leicester made Albion pay as Vicente Iborra was left unmarked to head home Ben Chilwell's cross from the left on 83 minutes and then, after Wilfried Ndidi had been sent off for two bookings, Jamie Vardy added a second from Ben Gray's low centre deep in injury-time.

No need to be too downbeat

It was a disappointing afternoon for the Seagulls but they remain six points clear of the relegation zone and now there's a game fewer to play.

Had Glenn Murray's penalty gone in, you'd have fancied Albion to take all three points but today was another harsh lesson of how tough the Premier League is. You don't always get what you deserve.

The next two games against Huddersfield and Crystal Palace gain extra signifcance but Brighton are still in a position many would have taken before the season started.

Just one win from the final seven games could be enough to ensure they keep their place in the top flight for another season.

The sides currently in the bottom three could be the ones who go down to the Championship. West Brom lost again today and it's only a matter of time until their relegation is confirmed, Stoke play Arsenal and Tottenham in their next two games, and Southampton also have a tricky run-in.

With the way Albion have played this season to date, you'd back them to have enough to stay in the Premier League.

Albion's struggles without Stephens continue

Albion were again without key midfielder Dale Stephens as a hamstring injury ruled him out for the third successive match.

The 28-year-old had been an ever-present in the Premier League up until the 2-0 defeat at Everton earlier this month. He then also missed the 2-0 FA Cup quarter-final loss at Manchester United before the international break and, despite manager Chris Hughton saying he had been back outside training during the week, he was not fit enough for a place in the squad today.

Brighton have struggled in the past when Stephens hasn't played, winning just one of seven league games without him last year.

They drew the league match he missed in the 2015/16 season and Albion won only six of their 28 games when Stephens was out with a knee injury for the opening two thirds of the 2014/15 campaign.

The Seagulls will hope he's fit to return for the huge clash at home to Huddersfield next weekend.

A right handful

A big positive for Albion was the performance of Jurgen Locadia, who started for the first time in the Premier League and was a handful throughout for the Leicester defence.

Albion's club record signing scored on his debut in the FA Cup against Coventry and also came off the bench to score in the 4-1 Premier League win over Swansea last month.

Today he started up front with Glenn Murray as Albion went 4-4-2, from the usual 4-4-1-1 formation. That meant Pascal Gross played more to the right but he moved inside - with either Murray or Locadia tracking back - when Leicester attacked.

Although it's still early days, Locadia looks another shrewd addition to the squad by Albion and he can be added to the list of the club's excellent signings over the past couple of years.

Albion fail to shut out the opposition again

Brighton have now failed to keep a clean sheet in ten league matches - since the 0-0 draw at Newcastle on December 30.

In fact, the Seagulls' last shut-out in any competition also came in the North East when Glenn Murray's late winner saw Albion progress past Middlesbrough 1-0 in the FA Cup fourth round in January.

Much has been made of how well Albion central defenders Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy inparticular have played this season, so the lack of clean sheets recently comes somewhat of a surprise.

Vicente Iborra lost his man to head home the opener and with Albion pushing forward for an equaliser, Jamie Vardy pounced to add a late second.

Leicester came into the game having failed to have a shut-out in six league matches. Their clean sheet owed much to the performance of keeper Kasper Schmeichel, who superbly saved Glenn Murray's penalty and also kept out a Pascal Gross shot at full stretch early in the second half.

Fans out in force again

The attendance of 30,629 was Albion's 13th 30,000-plus league home crowd of the season and ensured the Seagulls will average more than 30,000 across a campaign for the first time in their history.

The club's previous highest average attendance across a season was 27,995 last year when the Seagulls were promoted from the Championship.

The old-time record from the Goldstone Ground was 25,264 in 1977/78.

Today's crowd was the 21st 30,000-plus league attendance at the Amex - equalling the amount they had in their entire history at the Goldstone Ground.

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