Eleven of Glenn Murray’s 15 Premier League goals have come in away fixtures

Brighton extended their unbeaten run to four matches with victory at Swansea City, who slipped into the relegation zone with a fifth defeat from six home Premier League games this season.

The visitors were gifted their goal as Federico Fernandez ducked out of the way of a cross, allowing Glenn Murray to nudge the ball in with his thigh.

Having been booed off at half-time, the Swans at least mustered a handful chances after the interval, with Tammy Abraham having one shot well saved by Mat Ryan and substitute Luciano Narsingh hitting the crossbar.

But they were undermined by a combination of their own unimaginative attacking and Brighton’s disciplined defending.

Victory for the Seagulls lifts them to eighth in the Premier League and gives them back-to-back away wins in the top flight for the first time since 1981 and only the second time in their history.

Brighton’s rise

The last time these sides met in a league match, Swansea celebrated winning the League One title with a final-day victory over Brighton at the Seagulls’ old Withdean ground in 2008.

Since then, Brighton have moved to their plush new home of the Amex Stadium and both teams have risen to the heady heights of the Premier League.

Brighton initially seemed to struggle with the step up as they lost three of their first five games, but just one defeat in the subsequent five suggested Chris Hughton’s side had settled.

And, though this is Swansea’s seventh season in the Premier League, it was the Seagulls who played like the established top-flight side here.

The visitors played at a sprightly pace, using their fair share of possession wisely and occupying the opposition defenders with the wily movement of Murray, Anthony Knockaert and Pascal Gross.

Their goal was a case in point as Knockaert’s whipped cross into the box was bizarrely left by Fernandez, presenting Murray with the simple task of guiding the ball in from close range.

The rest of their display was built on defensive solidity, with a well-organised back four keeping Swansea’s frequent but blunt second-half attacks at bay.

Deja vu for dismal Swansea

It may only have been the first weekend in November but a sense of anxiety was already creeping in at the Liberty Stadium, where Swansea had lost four of their opening five league fixtures.

Paul Clement’s side had mustered just 20 shots on targets in their opening 10 league matches – and only Sunderland in 2012, Aston Villa in 2014 and Burnley in 2016 have registered fewer since these stats were first gathered in 2006.

That figure remained unchanged after an uninspiring first half in which Swansea failed to create any clear scoring opportunities, and the nature of their performance drew boos from the home fans.

Swansea not in a crisis situation – Clement

There was some improvement after the interval as Nathan Dyer threaded the ball through to top-scorer Abraham, whose effort was smothered by Brighton goalkeeper Ryan.

However, Swansea’s attacks lacked invention and accuracy, with the delivery from their set-pieces particularly poor.

And the atmosphere soured, with the home supporters turning their fury towards the club’s owners and directors with chants of: “Get out of our club.”

The crowd’s discontent echoed the disharmony of last season, which started with the American takeover of the club and saw Swansea go through three different managers before only narrowly avoiding relegation.

On this evidence, Clement’s side look destined for a long and arduous struggle to preserve their Premier League status.

Man of the match – Glenn Murray

Brighton’s victory was built on collective solidity and discipline but it was Glenn Murray’s hold-up play which gave them an outlet in attack, and the veteran striker was in the right place at the right time to provide the game’s only goal

‘I see a team low on confidence’ – what they said

Swansea City manager Paul Clement: “If we perform at that level, you can’t expect to win a game.

“I see a team low on confidence and I see a crowd frustrated but there is nobody more low and frustrated than me. The responsibility is down to me, the staff and the players.

“We will continue to work hard. We need to find a way to work even harder. Time isn’t running out as there are lots of games that need to be played so it’s not a crisis but we need to start winning games.

“We might have to win ugly in order to get some results.”

Brighton manager Chris Hughton: “We played very well. We knew it was going to be a tough game and we fought very hard for the win so I’m very pleased with what the boys produced.

“The thing with Glenn (Murray) is, he has a very good record of putting the ball in the net, which is what you need, but what I really like about him is his work ethic.

“He works hard on the training ground and then brings it to the pitch. But the boys all put a shift in today and I’m really pleased with the effort.”

Murray second to Kane – stats

  • Swansea have managed just one clean sheet in their six Premier League games at the Liberty Stadium this season.
  • This is the first time Swansea have ever lost five of their first six home matches in the league.
  • After failing to score in their first three Premier League games, Brighton have netted in seven of their past eight in the competition.
  • Since the start of last season, Harry Kane (37) is the only English player to have scored more goals in the top two tiers of English football than Glenn Murray (27 – level with Tammy Abraham).
  • There were just 15 shots in this match – only four Premier League games have seen fewer this season.
  • Glenn Murray has scored in three successive Premier League games for the first time since April 2015.
Brighton had to dig deep for win – Hughton

What’s next?

After the international break, Swansea travel to Turf Moor to take on in-form Burnley on Saturday, 18 November (15:00 GMT).

Brighton will look to make it five games unbeaten when they host Stoke City on Monday, 20 November.

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