Brighton & Hove Albion’s historic campaign has nearly come to an end.
Whatever happens to Graham Potter’s men on the final day, they will have posted their best-ever finish as a Premier League outfit.
Last month’s 3-0 win away to Wolverhampton Wanderers moved Brighton up to 44 points, beating the club’s previous record of 41.
The Seagulls have since smashed the record by beating Manchester United 4-0 and drawing 1-1 with Leeds United.
They could still squeeze into eighth place with victory on the season’s curtain closer, depending if other results go their way.
But even a loss will not dampen the spirits of those packed inside the Amex Stadium on Sunday.
Those fans have witnessed Potter’s team pull out several top performances to push them towards folk law status.
The two 1-1 draws with Chelsea certainly spring to mind when thinking back about Brighton’s term as a whole.
Admittedly, the South Coast club took on the Blues at a time when they were certainly not at their strongest.
When the two sides first shared the spoils in December, Thomas Tuchel’s group were on a run of just two league victories from five.
That dark winter night started another poor spell for Chelsea – including being frustrated by Brighton again – made worse by Reece James’ hamstring injury.
In both contests, one player representing the boys from the pier stood out above the rest.
Cucurella thwarts Chelsea
Marc Cucurella largely held the Blues at bay across the two ties, impressing defensively and offensively.
After the draw at the Amex, Paul Merson suggested Chelsea should actually try and sign the left-back.
Some may have scoffed at the pundit’s proposal then, but perhaps they should’ve taken Merson more seriously.
Cucurella has since been linked to the reigning European champions as a potential replacement for Marcos Alonso.
Furthermore, Manchester City are reportedly considering a bid for Potter’s £30m rated Spanish defender.
This is some testament to the full-back’s ability, especially as he is just about to complete his first full season in England.
But looking at his stats, it’s no great surprise that the country’s elite have sat up and noticed.
Cucurella and Mount level for chances created
According to WhoScored.com, Cucurella has created as many goalscoring chances from open play as Mason Mount in the Premier League in 2021/22.
Considering Mount is an attacker and widely viewed as Chelsea’s most creative weapon, this is a decent indication of Cucurella’s strength at both ends of the field.
He has made more tackles (91) than any Brighton player, ranks second for passes (1855) and third for key passes (40).
Add the fact he is only 23, it wouldn’t be too outrageous to say Cucurella is on his way to becoming the full full-back package.
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