Is the real Kazenga fi­nally stand­ing up?

The Football League Paper - - ADAM VIRGO -

ARE we fi­nally see­ing the real Kazenga LuaLua at Brighton? Or is it just another flash in the pan from one of the most frus­trat­ing play­ers in the Cham­pi­onship? The 24-year-old winger has scored three goals in three games this sea­son and is a big part of why the Seag­ulls are joint-top.

Now he needs to keep it go­ing. Sea­son af­ter sea­son he’s been hyped up. Ev­ery year he’s built up as the one player who can make the dif­fer­ence.

He’s al­ways brought a lot of ex­cite­ment com­ing on as a sub and scored some spec­tac­u­lar goals do­ing that. But when he’s started games, he’s largely flat­tered to de­ceive.

Ex­cite­ment

But from what I’ve heard, he’s gone away and worked hard on his fit­ness and strength this sum­mer. He’s scor­ing goals when it mat­ters. He’s hav­ing an in­flu­ence later in the game. His dis­ci­pline is a lot bet­ter.

He’s fi­nally be­com­ing the player I al­ways knew he could be­come and the one that Brighton’s fans have been wait­ing for.

If he can main­tain his form and get ten or 15 goals from wide ar­eas, a good start could be­come a good sea­son for Brighton.

Clearly, LuaLua has learned from past mis­takes. But what I’ve liked about Brighton this sea­son is that ev­ery­body seems to have learned from what was a wretched cam­paign last year.

The board have learned. No longer are they pick­ing three play­ers and say­ing to the man­ager ‘Right, these are your op­tions, pick A, B or C’. From what I’ve heard, the ma­jor­ity of sign­ings are Chris Hughton’s choice.

And Chris has learned too. He in­her­ited a mess last sea­son and clearly re­alised the best he could do was stop the team con­ced­ing. That made things pretty dull at the other end, but it gave him some­thing to build on this sum­mer.

And the big­gest thing he’s re­alised is that play­ing 4-4-2 suits his play­ers. He’s got Tomer Hemed up front do­ing the ba­sics – be­ing strong, win­ning flick-ons – and a nippy poacher in Sam Bal­dock along­side. It’s old-fash­ioned, but it works. In the Cham­pi­onship, that’s all that mat­ters.

Qual­ity

This di­vi­sion’s never, ever been about free-flow­ing football. It’s about be­ing res­o­lute and hard­work­ing with flashes of qual­ity.

You just need to look at the suc­cess Mick McCarthy has brought to Ip­swich through hard work.To me, this Brighton team is very, very sim­i­lar to Ip­swich last sea­son. One to 11, they’re OK, but there are no world-beat­ers. If you look at Derby, Mid­dles­brough or QPR, would any Brighton play­ers get in their teams? Lewis Dunk per­haps. Maybe Beram Kayal.

So if you haven’t got the in­di­vid­u­als – a Johnny Rus­sell or a Tom Ince – you need to be well-drilled and hard to beat. That is Chris Hughton all over.

At Nor­wich, he took stick for that. For Brighton, it’s per­fect. If they can stay clear of in­juries – and if LuaLua can pro­vide that vi­tal in­spi­ra­tion and spark they need – there’s no rea­son why it can’t last all sea­son.

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

ALL STYLE: Kazenga Lualua has tons of abil­ity, but has he added sub­stance to his game this year?

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.