Brighton and Hove Albion striker Glenn Murray scored a brace against Fulham on Saturday, instigating the comeback that earned the Seagull’s a hard-fought point, making him Maryam Naz’s pick for The Offside Rule Premier League player of the week.
1) The brains
The saying goes that with age comes understanding, and it’s clear that at the age of 34, Murray has a comprehensive grip on football.
In Saturday’s game, he showcased this through deliberately avoiding intervention in the build-up to Brighton’s first goal. Had Murray intervened he would have been called offside, but some quick thinking on his part allowed Anthony Knockaert to make a darting forward run. Luciani Vietto was then forced into a ‘catch-22’ situation as a result of Murray’s action: either let Murray run towards goal with the ball at his feet or concede the foul that would surely lead to a penalty.
2) Physicality factor
Murray also profits from his own physical strength. During corners and free-kicks, he poses an offensive threat and, as in Saturday’s match, defenders find it difficult to mark him without first conceding a foul.
During the game, Pascal Gross exploited this by intentionally playing long cross-field balls to the Englishman, causing Fulham’s defence problems. On several occasions, they were unable to contain him; this was evident in the moments directly after Gross’s penalty miss when Murray outmuscled defenders and just failed to score from the corner.
3) Persistence is key
Perhaps the most attractive trait Murray possesses is his ‘never say die’ attitude. As a striker, he continues to graft and play to the best of his abilities no matter the predicament.
In Saturday’s game, he could have resigned himself to defeat after Fulham’s early goals and Gross’s missed penalty, but he did not let this stop him. He single-handedly instigated the Seagull’s come back, leading them to their first-ever point from a two-goal deficit in the Premier League.
Murray may have impressed this week, but there were a number of other performances that need to be highlighted.
On Sunday, Captain Troy Deeney inspired Watford to a victory over Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur. Deeney’s brilliant header to made it four wins out of four for the Hornets.
Likewise, Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling, Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso and Wolves’s Adama Traore also made the headlines. Yet this week, Murray deserves all the plaudits.
Murray will be a pivotal asset to Chris Hughton this season. He will need to be at his best in the coming games against heavyweight opponents, such as Man City, Tottenham and Wolves. If
Brighton are to take anything away from these games, it will be by emulating Murray’s performances and using them as inspiration for the hard fixtures ahead.
Follow Maryam on Twitter at @mnaz98