Brighton are held by Newcastle as Maupay heads for the exit

Perhaps it came as no surprise that Albion drew a blank on the day the top scorer in recent seasons sorted out a move from the club.

Not because they necessarily missed Neal Maupay in the 0-0 draw against Newcastle.

The play pattern they’ve used with great success since Maupay slipped down the pecking order was evident again and should have gotten them all three points.

No, the fact they didn’t score as he mapped out his future elsewhere can be traced back to Sod’s law.

They produced everything but a composed, clinical finish, which wasn’t always Maupay’s forte anyway.

Would he even get in if he was still available?

After all, Deniz Undav was sent on ahead of him at Old Trafford.

And Undav didn’t even show up this time when Albion was chasing a goal, which is maybe a different story in itself.

The question will be, and indeed was asked after the game, whether the club will sign a replacement when Maupay leaves for Nottingham Forest.

What sometimes confuses people – but smoothes the transition – is that Albion are happy to sign the replacement before they lose the player.

Not that Potter likes to refer to a new player as a replacement for anyone.

His argument is that all players are unique and have different qualities.

If Undav isn’t equal in terms of succeeding Maupay, the bits we’ve seen suggest he’s at least similar in some aspects.

Yes, it’s still early days and we have a long season ahead of us.

But with the next attacking Taxi barely leaving the ranks after a high-scoring season in Belgium, where’s Maupay?

Excess of requirements seems to be the answer, although the golden moments he brought to Albion in the Potter era are not and should not be forgotten.

Undav will undoubtedly get his chance and Albion’s promising start has given him time to settle down.

Potter said of the German, “He’s pushing. We have a strong team and a strong starting XI.

“The results have been positive, the performances have been positive, so he has to be really patient.

“He did very well in training, he blended in very well with the group.

“I think he’s shown his quality so I think he just needs to keep working.”

Undav’s former Union St-Gilloise colleague Kaoru Mitoma had a decent chance to shine on Saturday – and he took it.

He’s quickly amassed a following, judging from a pair of ‘Mitoma 22’ kits and an apparently Japanese presence in the stands.

Two Japanese reporters were at the Amex for the games against Espanyol and Newcastle.

In fact, there was an Albion fan at West Lower wearing a ‘LuaLua 30’ jersey and it’s tempting to compare the Japan international to the Congolese flyer, who played for both clubs involved in the game.

If anything, he’s more stylistically akin to a left-sided Will Buckley with his direct, upright running at defenders.

He was certainly excited and a run that saw Kieran Trippier thrashing should have resulted in a late win for Pascal Gross, who pushed the ball wide.

Mitoma also produced a very intelligent pass that allowed Gross to hit Joel Veltman for a shot that was eventually climbed off the line.

That was Toon’s second escape of the kind. Trippier had previously hacked away Solly March’s shot, which was half saved by Nick Pope when most but not all of the ball had crossed the line.

Pope saved alone against March and Adam Lallana, who probably should have buried his header after March’s accurate cross.

March got off to a strong start to the season and that was a decent performance from the hosts, especially in the second half.

Newcastle looked like they could create something on counterattacks, but Albion made sure that never really happened.

Robert Sanchez and his defenders had stopped because the whistle went off for a dangerous play by high-kicking Callum Wilson once the Toon star had the ball in the net.

Temperatures topped 30 degrees but this was a far better game than those clubs going 0-0 down on a similarly hot day two seasons ago.

Only this finish was necessary.

Albion: Sanchez; Veltman, Dunk, Webster; March (Lamptey 75), Gross, Mac Allister, Caicedo, Trossard (Mitoma 75); Lallana (Mwepu 65); Wellbeck. Unused substitutes: Steele, Colwill, Alzate, Sarmiento, Undav, Van Hecke Booked: Mac Allister, March.

Newcastle: Pope; Trippier, Schar, Botman, Burn; Willock (Longstaff 76), Guimaraes, Joelinton; Almiron, Wilson (Wood 87), Saint-Maximin (Murphy 75). Unused substitutes: Dubravka, Dummett, Lascelles, Ritchie, Manquillo, Anderson Booked: Saint-Maximin, Joelinton, Schar Referee: Graham Scott. Brighton are held by Newcastle as Maupay heads for the exit

Fry Electronics Team

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