The Argus – BRIGHTON, Albion’s pre-pandemic goal of the season was scored by a substitute.
It will take something special to beat it when the action resumes.
Alireza Jahanbakhsh’s overhead kick to secure a point against Chelsea has put the Seagulls in credit in terms of goals scored by subs.
But with up to 45 substitutions yet to come for both Albion and their opponents, that might change in the nine matches to come.
Premier League clubs voted by a large majority, though not unanimously, to allow five changes per team per match for the rest of the season.
Four teams near the wrong end of the table reportedly voted against the change but it is understood that Albion were not among them.
Teams further up the table tend to be those with bigger budgets and bigger squads so, in theory, could make more use of extra changes available.
But Albion have made good use of tactical changes – both in terms of personnel and formation – under Graham Potter this season.
And that will offer hope they can make the most of the situation with which they are now faced as a result of the latest Premier League meeting yesterday.
Goals scored by subs is far from the only way to judge the success of tactical changes but Albion are in credit as far as it goes.
Jahanbakhsh’s special on New Year’s Day was the Seagulls’ fifth scored by a substitute in the league this season. They have conceded four.
Potter made an early impression with his subs – at Watford on the opening day.
With Albion 1-0 up thanks to an own goal, Potter added pace in attack as he sent on Florin Andone and Neal Maupay for Glenn Murray and Jurgen Locadia on 64 minutes.
Both subs scored inside the next 15 minutes to settle a 3-0 win.
Even more decisive was the contribution of the subs when Norwich City visited the Amex.
Albion had failed to make the breakthrough when Leandro Trossard went on for Pascal Gross just before the hour.
Trossard opened the scoring and then provided the free-kick from which fellow sub Shane Duffy added the second.
Those are the five goals by subs recorded by Albion this season.
What the stats do not show so readily is how Trossard, as sub, helped force the Lucas Digne own goal which secured the last-gasp 3-2 win over Everton.
Had Digne not intervened, Glenn Murray would have turned the ball home – having come off the bench in place of Aaron Connolly.
Other than that, perhaps the most impressive use of subs by Potter was to salvage a 3-3 draw at West Ham from 3-1 down – and they should probably have gone on to win.
That was when he sent on Ezequiel Schelotto to offer more attacking potency down the right and Solly March as a double switch which also saw the team change shape.
Trossard was supersub for a while and Steven Alzate has done well coming off the bench at times, helping offer a more confident retention of possession.
Those two have come on seven times apiece in the Premier League so far this season.
Connolly has eight appearances as sub but Murray leads the way with 13.
Potter’s men have conceded important goals at the Amex to players who did not start the match.
Moussa Djenepo put Southampton ahead when they won 2-0 early in the season following Andone’s red card.
Then Jeff Hendrick fired Burnley’s late equaliser.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin put Everton ahead two minutes after replacing Alex Iwobi before the hosts came back to win that five-goal thriller.
The other goal conceded by Albion to a sub was at the Etihad and of no great consequence.
That was when Bernardo Silva wasted very little time in adding the final goal in Manchester City’s 4-0 win.