Bournemouth defeated South Coast rivals Brighton 2-0 at the Amex Stadium to go four points clear of Norwich City in 2nd and to the brink of promotion to the Premier League.
The Cherries have had somewhat of a rollercoaster ride in this season’s Championship, twice going on five-game winless streaks while also twice putting together five-game winning runs.
With just four games remaining – five for the majority kicking off on Saturday – Eddie Howe’s side can almost touch promotion whereas their rivals have endured somewhat of a disaster campaign.
Brighton, twice playoff semi-finalists over the past two seasons, struggled to cope with former boss Oscar Garcia’s exit last summer and the risk to appoint Sami Hyypia ultimately failed to pay off.
But where has it all gone wrong for the Seagulls? If you have watched them play this season, they certainly don’t represent a team lingering just a few places above the relegation zone.
Their problem has been goals – 43 in 42 Championship encounters is among the worst in the division and five in their past nine is alarmingly low.
The Cherries, in contrast, have 22 goals in their last nine fixtures and with goals spread across the team, as many as six players have scored more than Brighton’s top goal scorer – the on-loan Joao Texeira.
6 - Bournemouth have six players who have scored more league goals than Brighton's top scorer this season (João Teixeira, 6). Spread.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) abril 10, 2015
21 - Kermorgant's goal was Bournemouth's 21st from outside the box this season, more than any other Championship side. Belter.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) abril 10, 2015
Chris Hughton is a competitive manager and arguably one of the best outside the top flight, but he faces an uphill task of turning his side around in the summer.
Strikers and creative midfielders are obviously high on the priority list, yet with the list of saleable assets in contrast running thin, their fortunes may depend on how much their owner is willing to risk chasing the Premier League dream.