Danny Welbeck earns point for draw specialists Brighton at Leicester | Premier League


If Brighton could just play all their games from the 80th minute, then Manchester City might have more serious competition for the Premier League title. Danny Welbeck’s latest deserved equaliser earned Graham Potter’s team their 12th draw of the season as Leicester City again fell away in the latter stages.

With Potter watching on remotely from his Covid-enforced isolation, Brighton could once again be proud of their strong finish as they extended their unbeaten run to six games since Christmas. Going behind to Patson Daka’s continued prolificity, Brighton came back to score for the eighth time in the last 10 minutes of matches, a statistic to which only the Premier League leaders can hold a candle.

If this was not quite the nightmare Leicester suffered on Wednesday, when Tottenham Hotspur came from 2-1 behind in the 95th minute to win 3-2, then it was another illustration of how stretched they are.

Leicester still had nine players missing but had looked more defensively secure initially for the returns of James Justin, who was excellent on his first start in 347 days after his serious knee injury, and Daniel Amartey, back from the Africa Cup of Nations.

To be fair – and forgive us if you have heard this before – Brighton’s finishing potency did not match their approach play for the first 80 minutes.

This was their fourth draw in six matches, albeit including a pair of 1-1s with Chelsea, but while they displayed admirable passing dexterity through the thirds they had so little to show for it until they went behind. All hot air and no end product, one regular sage suggested.

Most of Leicester’s best moments flowed through James Maddison again. Their No 10, tripped by his opposite number, curled the ensuing free-kick into the side-netting; 10 minutes before half-time, he dispossessed Alexis Mac Allister and when the recalled Harvey Barnes slipped the ball wide, Ademola Lookman should have scored but Robert Sanchez was allowed to save his shot.

The volume on the PA system seemed to be pumped up as the players came out for the second half and within 28 seconds of the Posthorn Gallop blasting out, Leicester had their snouts in front.

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall won a header to set Maddison running at the Brighton defence and, after he slipped the ball in to the feet of Lookman, the attacking midfielder kept running to take a return.

Patson Daka celebrates scoring the opening goal for Leicester against Brighton.
Patson Daka celebrates scoring the opening goal for Leicester against Brighton. Photograph: Plumb Images/Leicester City FC/Getty Images

Maddison’s mishit shot deflected off Dan Burn for Barnes and although Sanchez saved the winger’s scuffed effort, the ball fell neatly for Daka to shoot in from the left edge of the six-yard box. It was the Zambian’s eighth goal involvement in his last eight Premier League games.

Mac Allister again skied a shot high over the bar as Brighton rallied. Bjorn Hamberg, the first-team coach taking charge for the day, advanced his side to playing higher up the field by switching to three at the back, introducing Tariq Lamptey, at right wing-back, and Welbeck alongside Neal Maupay up front, with Leandro Trossard in the hole just behind.

Brendan Rodgers responded by introducing Marc Albrighton to play right wing-back, with Justin moving inside as a third centre-back.

Instead of protecting the lead, however, this served to invite Brighton on and Lamptey made a significant difference with his pace and invention. From his cross 17 minutes from time, Welbeck’s deft header required an excellent save down at his near post from Kasper Schmeichel.

So it was no surprise when Welbeck did head home, at the far post from Maupay’s right-wing centre, eight minutes from time and Leicester, lilting, looked there for the taking. Youri Tielemans headed off the line from Burn’s towering header and Trossard ran through onto substitute Solly March’s superb pass only for Schmeichel to again save brilliantly, this time low to his right. “I felt that if the game had kept going on, we would have got a second goal,” Hamberg said.

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Rodgers accepted that Leicester had sat back after going ahead. “There is a natural reaction sometimes when you go in front, the other team get an edge and we look to protect a bit. But we didn’t pass the ball well enough and that’s something I’m not used to seeing,” the Leicester manager said. “But I must commend players going to the end against a good side. We wanted to close the game out [which] showed great courage mentally.”

Both teams remain in mid-table but it remains to be seen what Brighton could do if they started games as they finish, with this the fifth time in their last nine games they have scored beyond the 80th minute.


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