Brighton – Fulham: Brighton kept Fulham in its rearview mirror but failed to make any distance despite a dangerous performance in a scoreless draw with Fulham at the Amex Stadium on Wednesday.
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The Seagulls were mostly responsible for their failures to reach goal but Alphonse Areola was there when Brighton put the ball near the frame. Areola had five saves and four punches on the day.
Brighton moves onto 18 points, five more than the 18th-place Cottagers. Fulham has played one fewer match.
Three things we learned from Brighton – Fulham
1. No sense to Seagulls struggles: Brighton was superior in every way to Fulham but their equality in front of goal will leave them ornery after a single point came to the Amex Stadium. Brighton put four of seven first-half shots on goal and then took nine more shots in the second frame, seeing five blocked by the cagey Cottagers. They won 13 tackles to Fulham’s three in the dominant second half and missed big chances. Nil-nil.
2. Areola sparkles in bounce back: Alphonse Areola’s fifth loan away from Paris Saint-Germain looks like most of the other ones, as he’s been quite good. An exception was the 2-1 loss to Manchester United, but Areola was rested versus Burnley in the FA Cup and bounced back in a big way. The Cottagers need to score some goals to stay in the Premier League, but Areola is there when their defenders return to their early season wobbly ways.
3. Neither side looks truly bottom three apart from finish: Between Brighton’s style and Fulham’s sturdiness and aggression, you wouldn’t expect either to be in the bottom three (and to be fair to the Seagulls they are five points clear). But even average finishing from either side would have Fulham multiple results about the bottom three and Brighton perhaps in a top seven mix.
Man of the Match: Lewis Dunk
The Brighton captain nearly scored and made a point-saving block in stoppage time.
Brighton – Fulham recap
Neal Maupay led a rush down the right and sent the ball across to Leandro Trossard, who had his defender anticipating an extra pass but saw his shot saved by Alphonse Areola.
The Fulham keeper kept it scoreless three minutes later when Lewis Dunk turned a perfect free kick on frame. Brighton was knocking on the door.
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The Seagulls kept pushing and the second half was all theirs, Maupay saved by Areola before Solly March’s bid at the rebound was deflected over the goal.
Half-chance after half-chance came to Brighton, the Seagulls producing plenty but unable to solve Areola.
Fulham had two chances to take an unlikely win in stoppage time, but Aleksandar Mitrovic and Ruben Loftus-Cheek couldn’t capitalize on chances.