Lamptey produces a wing-back exhibition
Maupay 4 pen, 7, Connolly 83
We have only had two rounds of Premier League fixtures and it is already safe to say you will not see a better display of attacking wingback play than the one Brighton’s Tariq Lamptey delivered here.
In his 58 minutes on the pitch, Lamptey, in only his 11th Premier League appearance, won a penalty, played a key role in Brighton’s second goal, contained Allan SaintMaximin, Newcastle’s most dangerous player, with such ease that the winger asked to be substituted, drew yellow-card fouls from both Jonjo Shelvey and Jamal Lewis as he threatened to break away before a wonderful last-ditch tackle prevented Callum Wilson pulling a goal back before half-time.
The former Chelsea player is small, maybe too small for some, but he looks like a brilliant prospect; electric going forward, diligent in defence and strong in the tackle. The 19-year-old sliced Newcastle to pieces and Brighton had won this game inside the first seven minutes.
“He’s been a breath of fresh air since he came to us,” Graham Potter, the Brighton manager, said. “He’s a special talent, a special character, very humble and he’s got a great personality.
“He’s got all the attributes you want, going forward and in defence. He was up against some big players today, but I thought the whole team contained a threat. The scoreline didn’t flatter us.”
It did not. Brighton were superb, clever and vibrant. This was a demolition job and another sign of the progress they are making under Potter. There were impressive performances all over the pitch, not just from the young man at right-back.
Newcastle were dreadful; lethargic, sloppy and unable to cope with the movement and invention of their opponents. It was the sort of performance that would have led to howls of derision had their supporters had the misfortune to watch it. Instead the vitriol was confined to social media, living rooms and pubs all over Tyneside. At least Steve Bruce, the manager, will not have to see or listen to it, but he knows he and his team deserve whatever abuse they get.
“We didn’t give ourselves a chance with a start like that, two down after seven minutes,” Bruce said. “We have been beaten badly at home and we have to expect what’s coming.
“That’s the thing about playing for a big club, you can’t go up and down. In the 15 or 16 months I have been here that seems to happen. We’ve thrown in a hand grenade and we have to accept what’s coming our way.”
Bruce got things wrong, sticking with the same starting XI that comfortably beat West Ham United, rewarding success, but not adapting to the different sort of test Brighton would bring.
The formation was not right, and Newcastle’s four-man midfield was swarmed by Brighton’s five. Neither was the team selection. Why was the immobile Andy Carroll preferred to the quick and busy Miguel Almiron against Brighton’s trio of bulky centre-halves?
Almiron’s pace would have worried Brighton’s back line far more than lumping long balls for them to contest with Carroll in the air. They like wrestling matches, they do not like pace running in behind and around them.
Neither was the attitude. Newcastle’s players cannot have been switched on.
A team that concede two goals at home in the opening seven minutes cannot argue otherwise. It was a collective ill, but the most obvious offender was the normally thrilling Saint-Maximin.
The Frenchman was comfortably Newcastle’s best outfield player last season, but he was shockingly bad here, giving away a needless penalty with a stupid attempt to win the ball from behind after Lamptey had gone past him with ease. It was converted by Neal Maupay down the middle as Karl Darlow dived for the corner.
This was the sort of performance that explains why a player of SaintMaximin’s talent is at Newcastle and not one of the top clubs.
He has so much ability, but he disappeared from the game, lost the ball a couple of times, fell to the floor claiming he was hurt, failed to track Lamptey in the build-up to Brighton’s second goal, again scored by Maupay, and then complained about his ankle before asking to be substituted. He was not even acknowledged by a member of the coaching staff as he headed down the tunnel.
At least Bruce realised the blunder at half-time. On came Almiron and the contest briefly shifted in the home team’s favour. Brighton’s back line suddenly looked cumbersome and Newcastle should have pulled a goal back just after the hour mark. Javier Manquillo and Almiron combined down the left and Wilson, unmarked six yards out, headed over the bar in front of the empty Gallowgate End.
The miss drained Newcastle of the momentum they had been building since half-time and Brighton sensed it, Leandro Trossard hitting the post at the end of an unchallenged run before Aaron Connolly scored a lovely third goal late on.
The only negative for the visitors was a late red card for Yves Bissouma, who swung a wild, high leg into the face of Lewis. It was not deliberate, but it was incredibly dangerous.