Six things we learned from Albion's draw at Watford

Lewis Dunk charges forward. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)
Lewis Dunk charges forward. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

A missed opportunity? Positives to take? Here's six things we learned from Brighton's 0-0 draw with Watford.

Missed opportunity

Jose Izquierdo. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

Jose Izquierdo. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

Albion will feel it's two points dropped after playing against ten men for 65 minutes at Vicarage Road.

Give credit to Watford, who defended superbly and limited Brighton to few clear chances - although Heurelho Gomes was forced to keep out a long-range Anthony Knockaert shot in the second half and the Hornets stopper was also solid in punching clear a couple of dangerous crosses.

Albion hit the woodwork twice in the first half and will feel a tad unlucky not to have scored their first Premier League goal.

There were positives for Brighton to take, though, and they'll look to build on their first Premier League point after the international break.

Anthony Knockaert. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

Anthony Knockaert. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

First Premier League clean sheet

Albion's defence were outstanding today, especially the central defensive partnership of Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy.

A stat was doing the rounds before the game that Andre Gray had scored against the Seagulls in all four of his previous league matches against the club. However, he barely got a sniff of goal as Dunk and Duffy marshalled him well.

Troy Deeney came on for the closing stages but Albion's defence stood up to the challenge to keep their first clean sheet in the Premier League.

Liam Rosenior afterwards said Dunk is the best defender he has played with and wouldn't be surprised to see him earn a England call-up in the future.

Goalkeeper Mathew Ryan had little to do and it will be a confidence boost for the Australian keeper after his Albion career began with a couple of difficult games.

Striker issues

Tomer Hemed was the only striker in Albion's squad today, with Sam Baldock still ruled out with a calf injury and Glenn Murray also missed out after limping off at Leicester last weekend.

Columbian winger Jose Izquierdo came off the bench to make his Seagulls debut and will give the team much-needed pace going forward but Albion desperately need to add to their options up front.

With Raphael Dwamena's move from FC Zurich falling through owing to a failed medical, signing a striker or two before the transfer window closes on Thursday is essential for Albion.

Bringing a striker or two in this week could determine whether the team stay in the top flight or not.

Moment of madness

Just quite went through Miguel Britos's head before his shocking tackle on Anthony Knockaert, you can't even begin to guess.

Knockaert was causing the hosts all kinds of problems and looked to be away down the right when Britos lunged in on the winger and caught him just below his knee.

It was one of the clearest red cards you'll see and referee Graham Scott had no hesitation in brandishing the red card.

After a couple of minutes treatment, Knockaert was luckily able to continue. It's perhaps no surprise that since the start of the 2016/17 season, Britos has received the most red cards in the Premier League, with three.

The dismissal also impacted Watford going forward as right-winger Nordin Amrabat, who had looked lively, was taken off and replaced by defender Craig Cathcart.

Albion captain Bruno was booked in the first half and then gave away a free kick when Watford were down to ten men, which led to the home fans baying for a red card. Chris Hughton sensibly took Bruno off at half-time and brought on Liam Rosenior at right-back.

Star man

Anthony Knockaert was back in the starting line-up and Albion look a completely different proposition with the winger running at opposition full-backs.

Last season's player of the year and Championship player of the season was at his sizzling best at times. He almost scored the club's first ever Premier League goal when his curling effort unluckily rebounded off a post.

Miguel Britos's horror tackle on Knockaert earned the Watford full-back a straight red card with not even half-an-hour played.

Knockaert famously missed a penalty for Leicester at Watford in May, 2013, before the hosts broke straight down the other end to score and reach the play-off final.

Since then, he has played Watford three times and not been on the losing side. He scored in a 3-0 win for Leicester in November, 2013, and the Foxes then drew 2-2 at home to Waford in the same season.

Today he was booed throughout by the Watford fans but you can tell Knockaert relishes playing against the Hornets.

Midfield partnership

Dale Stephens and Davy Propper started together in the centre of midfield for the third successive league game.

Stephens was solid throughout and has been an influential figure for the Seagulls since joining from Charlton in January, 2014.

Propper joined late in the transfer window and is still finding his feet a bit. He carelessly gave the ball away a couple of times in the second half and Steve Sidwell will be chomping at the bit for an opportunity when the team return to action after the international break.