Brighton and Hove Albion’s 1-1 draw against Burnley last Sunday was arguably the most significant point gained this season, matching one of the league’s high flyers away from home and dealing with Andre Gray, the second tier’s leading marksman.
Albion were reluctant to give up their unbeaten start to the league season and despite racing in front within the first minute of the match, the need for additional firepower was clear to see from there on in.
Bobby Zamora scored his third goal of the season, poking home Tomer Hemed’s early effort that struck the crossbar following the Albion’s first surge upfield. However for the remainder of the game, the south coast side lacked creativity within the final third and failed to build upon the blistering start.
The lack of creation up front was made more evident by the slick football played elsewhere on the pitch, elegantly moving the ball from the defensive third into midfield territory, before the majority of attacks were broken down in front of the opposing goal.
With Sam Baldock out injured and Elvis Manu still finding his feet within the first team setup, the ‘big man small man’ partnership Chris Hughton has relied upon for much of the season was more or less unavailable. Bobby Zamora and Tomer Hemed led the line at Turf Moor and despite their opening link up that led to the goal, the blatant similarity between the 6ft plus strikers was clear to see.
Pace is something neither striker has in abundance, Zamora being a changed players compared to the rapid bundle of youth he once was at the club. Hemed’s impact on games has consistently decreased throughout the season, failing to reach the heights he rose to during the opening weeks of the season, stretching his run without a goal to ten games.
Burnley striker Andre Gray levelled from the penalty spot shortly after Zamora’s opener and the 11-goal leading scorer showed signs of why he cost the Lancashire side an estimated £9m in August this year.
Despite failing to score from open play, the 24-year-old threatened throughout, moving well to put defenders off balance, using his pace to stretch the play and tussling with Albion’s back line to win set pieces in dangerous positions.
These are all qualities that would complement the existing options Albion have in attack and considering they are the second lowest goal scorers in the league’s top half, it’s crystal clear that more ammunition is needed to maintain the unexpected promotion push on the south coast.
If Chris Hughton wants a temporary supplement in attack, the Football League loan window closes today at 5pm. Albion fans will otherwise have to wait until January, hoping the current squad of players can make it through December unscathed and enter the New Year with intentions of finding a permanent addition.
Manchester United’s James Wilson and Dundalk’s 27-goal Richie Towell are being linked with the club, fuelling the fire surrounding the Albion’s search for goals.
With a number of tough fixtures over the festive period looking to spoil Albion’s Christmas party, recruitment before the loan window shuts would offer comfort to the club’s fans. With Albion sitting second in the Championship, there’s no need to panic but the importance of adding a striker to the current squad could be the difference between the Premier League and the same league.