Ian Hart: Victorious sides deserve more credit
That great British trait of negativity reared its ugly head over the weekend on the back of four classic Premier League games.
Starting on Friday with Albion’s historic first ever away win in the Premier League at the Olympic Stadium, followed on Saturday with Huddersfield beating Manchester United for the first time in 65 years and ending on Sunday with a double when North London destroyed the City of Liverpool at both Goodison Park and Wembley.
Yet in the days that followed these 360 or so minutes of classic English football, we’ve heard more about how bad West Ham, Man United, Everton and Liverpool were, than the outstanding respective performances of the Albion, Huddersfield, Arsenal and Spurs.
Friday night’s showing from the Albion was one that will live long in the memory. Chris Hughton’s game plan clearly worked, regardless of how bad the Hammers allegedly were, although there is a subtle difference between substandard players and ones that have effectively downed tools for their current manager.
Brighton were superb and as exciting as the goals were, one big factor for me were the stats that West Ham put 29 crosses in over the 90 minutes and Albion dealt with all of them – predominantly the centre-back pairing of Dunk and Duffy, who could yet both find themselves in World Cup action next summer.
The same can be said for Huddersfield on Saturday, I really thought given their recent results, including a 4-0 home demolition by Spurs, that their bubble had burst but their performance against United will reiterate their belief they can survive at this level. Again, it was more about Jose Mourinho after the game than David Wagner.
Spurs and Arsenal also have cause to feel aggrieved given the press coverage on Monday, but then again does negative news sell more papers?
And if it does, it shouldn’t do.
Returning to the Albion, the South Coast derby arrives this Sunday, with the visit of Southampton to the Amex.
Obviously it goes without saying the firm foundations built in East London on Friday night need to be continued. The Saints have had an up and down season so far – with our home form and a passionate crowd behind us for the whole 90 minutes, West Ham fans take note, we can continue winning ways and record another home win. Harty prediction alert: 2-1 Albion, Murray and Izquierdo.
In the meantime, with Albion playing Sunday, Worthing – having recorded their first victory on Tuesday night – entertain Lowestoft in the FA Trophy at Woodside Road, 3pm kick-off. It promises to be a classic, and ultimately winnable, cup tie for the Mackerel men, and will be made all the more possible with a big home crowd.
And, finally, Worthing’s very own Mason Crane departs on his Ashes adventure this weekend. Unfortunately one player not in the England party is Ben Stokes.
One man clearly doesn’t make a team but without Stokes any cricket fan, however passionate, would seriously question England’s chances of retaining the Ashes.
Hopefully the on-going police investigation will be concluded soon for Stokes to board a plane in time for the first Test in Brisbane at the end of next month.