Middlesbrough are top of the Sky Bet Championship after defeating Brighton and Hove Albion 3-0 in an absolute display of dominance over their closest rivals.
Brighton went into this game unbeaten, but on Saturday lunchtime Middlesbrough came to town and outclassed the Seagulls from start to finish.
Former Chelsea boss, Jose Mourinho came along to support his friend, Aitor karanka who’s team came out to prove a point, that they are the team to beat in this division. Kike put the visitors ahead after just four minutes.
After taking the lead, Middlesbrough, stayed on top the two wide men in particular were outstanding and Brighton could not cope with either of them.
Just before half time, the seagulls were two down after a header from central defender Ayala’s header was diverted in by Albert Adomah past helpless Brighton keeper Stockdale.
In the second half, Boro pressed for a third which duly came on the 62nd minute. Brighton again failed to deal with a Boro corner, it dropped to the ever dangerous Kike who whipped it to the back post for Cristhian Stuani to head home.
Brighton struggled on going three down but they never managed to break through the resolute Middlesbrough defence, this was 12th clean sheet for Boro this season.
Here are three things we learned from Middlesbrough 3-0 win over Brighton.
1) If you want to win the Championship
Middlesbrough have laid down a marker with this win over Brighton, and its hard to argue with the view that if you finish above them in the league this season you will win the title.
They were that very impressive and looked so superior to Brighton in all departments, and they have only affirmed that they have one of the best teams in the Championship.
Middlesbrough are now two points ahead of second place Derby, Brighton slip down to third.
2) Premier League beckons for Downing
The former England international, will return to top flight and he will be hoping that it is with Middlesbrough as champions, and he has plenty to offer in the Premier League.
He is far too good for most of the defences at this level, his pace crossing and dead ball delivery was exceptional against Brighton and he is undoubtedly one of the divisions best players.
Many players drop down to the Championship at the end of their career when they haven’t got the ability or legs to play there any more, but the same can’t be said for Downing.
3)Brighton have a weight lifted
Brighton have lost, they were unbeaten for 21 games and it was an astounding feat, however they have been hindered by the unbeaten run, when they were level towards the end of a game they became negative protecting that unbeaten run.
Now with it gone they can do what they do best, play attacking football without the constant worry that the unbeaten run will end.
Few would have expected the Seagulls to be in the top three of the Championship at Christmas and they have shown that they have the quality to stay there or thereabouts until May.
Brighton and Middlesbrough fans…What did you think of the game? Will Boro now go on to win the title? Can Brighton still get promoted this season? Let us know what you think in the comments below!