Brighton are not officially confirmed as a 2020/21 Premier League club yet but last night’s draw at Southampton has as good as banished even the most pessimistic supporters’ fears of relegation.
Six points clear of the drop zone with only two games to play and needing to avoid at least a nine-goal swing in results in those couple of games, Graham Potter’s team can realistically relax for the remaining two fixtures and look ahead to a fourth successive top-flight season.
They were on course to mathematically clinch survival when Neal Maupay gave them a first half lead at St Mary’s but the home side’s pressure after the interval eventually told when Danny Ings found the net for his 20th league goal of the season. [via Sky Sports]
Even though they dropped two points from a winning position, the Seagulls can feel pleased to come away with one given that they faced 21 shots and mustered only 10 of their own, as well as having just 33% possession against the Saints.
One man they can thank for earning a draw is goalkeeper Mat Ryan, who delivered the perfect riposte to an iffy performance in last weekend’s thumping by Manchester City (when he was at fault for two of their five goals) with an excellent display against Southampton.
The Australia international made four saves on the night, including one miraculous stop in the closing stages of the match when he somehow got a fingertip to a long-range Jannik Vestergaard strike to preserve a point for Albion. Aside from his goalkeeping heroics, the 28-year-old also ended the match with 11 accurate long balls to his name, by far the most of any Brighton player.
Save of the season❓ @sjsidwell thinks so. Jannik Vestergaard couldn't believe he didn't score!
Take a bow Matt Ryan… 😲 pic.twitter.com/K1OH4Hz9sr
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) July 16, 2020
Ryan’s confidence-boosting performance was rightly hailed by several reporters after the game. Derren Howard of Brighton & Hove Independent gave him an eight in his player ratings and told readers in relation to his save from Vestergaard: “If you didn’t see it make sure you do.”
Sussex Live‘s Tom Coleman noted how the Australian “put his Man City jitter behind him” and “made some very assured saves when called upon”, hailing a “world class save” to thwart the Southampton centre-back. The Argus writer Brian Owen gave him a rating of nine, saying that he “bounced back in style with the highlight-reel touch on to the bar from Vestergaard but also offered good handling and a generally very solid display from the moment he denied Hojbjerg early on”.
Who was Brighton's best player against Southampton?
Other (comment below)
Ryan may not have been able to add to his eight league clean sheets last night but, with that save from Vestergaard alone, never mind his otherwise solid performance throughout the match at St Mary’s, he more than made up for an uncharacteristic off-day against Manchester City last weekend.
Brighton fans, was Ryan’s save from Vestergaard the best that you’ve seen in the Premier League all season? Comment below with your views!
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