Danny Welbeck drew a penalty and later scored a pretty goal to salt away a Brighton and Hove Albion victory that probably seals its fate in the Premier League for the 2021-22 season.
Pascal Gross scored the aforementioned penalty as Brighton beat Leeds United 2-0 at the Amex Stadium on Saturday, pulling 10 points clear of 18th-place Fulham with 37 points.
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The loss is costly to Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds, and the manager was furious with the performance which likely kills their hopes for a Europa League place.
Leeds’ 47 points remain ninth, but Arsenal and Aston Villa can pass it this weekend and seventh place is six points away with just four matches left on Leeds’ schedule.
Three things we learned from Brighton – Leeds
1. Europe a bit too far for Bielsa’s first PL voyage: Leeds will need to get to the summer for supplies (and health) after showing that Bielsaball can work in the Premier League. It took him some time to sort out his defense and injuries to Kalvin Phillips, Robin Koch, and Raphinha played big roles in what could’ve been a top seven finish. The continued growth of Illan Meslier and more comfort in England for Raphinha, Rodrigo, and Diego Llorente could make the club a force next season.
2. Welbeck makes point(s) but Brighton has to decide on No. 1: Danny Welbeck won the penalty and had a brilliant finish to make it 2-0, but this game should’ve been done and dusted long before the 80th minute given Brighton’s control of the proceedings. Neal Maupay at 24 has put up a respectable 18 goals in his first 70 Premier League games, and his 13.21 xG headed into Saturday was behind only Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Mohamed Salah, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Patrick Bamford, Bruno Fernandes, and Ollie Watkins. So Brighton needs to decide whether Maupay would be a wonderful No. 2 strike option or if he can deliver ore consistency in finish.
3. White, Brighton’s defense the key: Chances were at a premium for Leeds, who were stymied by a man who helped it reach the PL last season on loan from Brighton. Ben White was very good but possibly the third-best Brighton center back Saturday as Lewis Dunk and Adam Webster delivered the goods and the Seagulls limited dangerous Leeds to just a pair of shots on target. The center backs combined for 12-of-15 duels won versus Leeds.
Man of the Match: Danny Welbeck
You have to feel good for the ex-Arsenal and Manchester United man, who has five goals this season — his most since 2017-18 — and more Premier League minutes played (1,351) than any season since 2014-15,
Brighton – Leeds recap
The Seagulls were ready to go, and Brighton won an early penalty off of Ezgjan Alioski when Pascal Gross sent a ball toward Leandro Trossard and Danny Welbeck, the latter felled by the Leeds defender.
Gross converted to Brighton up 1-0 and Leeds quickly found its footing while down a goal.
The late stages of the half were about Brighton as Neal Maupay and Trossard will both feel they could’ve had the lead doubled or tripled.
Welbeck nearly produced a second goal after the break, snapping a left-footed pass out of the air that Illan Meslier did well to redirect away from Trossard.
Stuart Dallas pummeled a shot just over the bar as a Brighton giveaway led to a chance for Leeds to equalize at the Amex.
But Welbeck was the man of the hour-and-a-half, finishing a left-footed shot with authority from a tough ankle to give Brighton three massive points.