Brighton & Hove Albion’s Neal Maupay is a man-possessed this season in front of goal. His stunning equalising lob over Vicente Guaita in Monday night’s draw with Crystal Palace was his fourth in the Premier League this term as the south coast club make a surprisingly bright start to the season.
The striker has played his role in this fine start to the campaign that could have seen the Sussex club climb to the top of the Premier League table if they had beaten their bitter rivals Crystal Palace on Monday. As the game panned out, Brighton were the inferior side but were still able to rescue an unlikely point in the dying seconds when Maupay pounced to send the roaring away end into jubilation.
The feisty Frenchman’s goal against the Eagles has shown how much he has evolved as a player at Brighton since he joined the club from Brentford two years ago. His four goals in six games are identical to his start last season but this time his club have nine extra points, making his goal contributions even more important to Brighton.
The player has always been lauded as one of football’s biggest wind-ups, but that is all part of his game plan - frustrating and then inviting strong challenges from his opponents until he strikes and all the theatrics have paid off. On Monday night, his boyhood idol Thierry Henry, who was a pundit on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football, likened him and his off-field antics to former Manchester City star Paul Dickov.
It is Henry’s former club Arsenal who are next for Graham Potter’s side in the top-flight and Maupay has a very impressive record against the Gunners.
The 25-year-old has scored the winning goal in two out of his three Premier League appearances against Arsenal which will give much for manager Mikel Arteta to think about. They may be coming in off the back of a strong and comfortable victory over bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur, but the Spaniard cannot let his players get complacent.
Brighton are a tough test for anyone at the AMEX and Maupay will want to keep being the player that gets the better of the north London side as Brighton look to get back to winning ways. His fine start to the season will have him already thinking about beating his previous best tally of 10 goals which came in his debut term on the south coast in the 2019-20.
The encounter between the two sides is going to provide both with a real challenge that will reflect how each of their seasons will pan out. The hosts will need to dig deep and revert back to their earlier performances if they are to emerge with three points, while the visitors will need to build on their derby victory to really push on and ease the pressure on Arteta’s shoulders.
Maupay could once again turn out to be the hero and the villain of this match and with the stats in his favour, there is a strong chance he could come back to punish Arsenal this weekend.
Betfred are offering 21/10 on Neal Maupay to score anytime.