If you are looking for an answer to Albion's struggle for attacking cohesion so far this season, you do not need to look much further than the absence of Pascal Gross.

Although the Seagulls have done well to accumulate ten points from seven games without him, the influence the German No.10 has on the team going forward cannot be discounted.

Five of the 12 Premier League goals were scored in the three matches Gross started (he came off the bench when he almost equalised at Liverpool, below).

The Argus: Glenn Murray's goals have been huge for Albion, 12 last season, half that number already this season.

Gross's overall contribution is just as telling. The penalty he converted against Manchester United at the Amex in August took his goals tally to eight, comfortably the second highest marksman.

His assists total is more revealing, another eight, twice as many as any of his team-mates.

Gross's expertise from set pieces, the ground he covers and the way he drops into spaces, knitting together the midfield and attack, has been hard for Chris Hughton to replace.

The manager has tried a three-man midfield and, more recently, Solly March at No.10, but the sooner Gross is available the better the prospects are of Albion improving their attacking play.

Ball retention has been a problem. Gross was in the top five in passing stats last season. His long spell on the sidelines with ankle damage has been exacerbated in this respect by the simultaneous absence of Davy Propper (below) for the last three matches.

The Argus: The quietly efficient and effective Dutch midfielder also featured in the top five in passings stats last season.

Hughton will have to do without Gross and Propper again at Cardiff on Saturday. It is hoped they will both be available again for the next match following the international break at home to Leicester.

Albion will approach that test in a pretty healthy state, regardless of the result in Wales, due in the main to sound defence and resilience.

They have established in 12th a cushion of six points over Crystal Palace in 14th, more importantly eight points over the relegation zone.

Even if they suffered a barren sequence, it would take a while for next-to-bottom Cardiff to erode the equivalent of three victories dividing the sides.

Saturday is an opportunity to at least maintain or stretch the gap.

Albion have picked up away points both times they have faced a side outside the top nine (at Southampton and Newcastle).

Now, for the first time in their Premier League existence, they get the chance to exploit their extra top flight experience on their travels against a promoted team.

Cardiff are living up to their billing as pre-season favourites to go straight back down.

The suspicion was they do not possess sufficient quality in their squad to survive. The evidence to date has confirmed the theory.

Apart from against Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City, they have been competitive - Neil Warnock's teams always are.

That has not been enough to produce precious wins other than against Fulham, another of the promoted trio and the only team below them.

The Argus: A defence featuring former Albion left-back Joe Bennett (above) has leaked 13 goals in six home games.

They have not been able to match the Seagulls' defensive qualities and they do not possess a goal threat like Glenn Murray.

Danny Ward's header against Arsenal early in September is the solitary goal scored by a forward.

Kenneth Zohore, a target for Albion in the summer transfer window following promotion, has yet to score in the Premier League.

The Danish striker, supposed to be Cardiff's biggest threat, was left out of the squad altogether by Warnock for Saturday's 1-0 home defeat by Leicester.

It is unlikely to be pretty between the bottom two teams in terms of number of passes.

Hughton needs more from his wingers and wide areas in general. Murray thrives on crosses but Albion's current total of 149 is the lowest in the division, likewise the shots tally of 86.

The figures require context. Six of the 11 games have been against sides in the top nine, including three of the top four and four away, a challenge in terms of possession and fashioning chances.

The last time the Seagulls visited the Cardiff City Stadium they were lashed 4-1 in the rain in an early Saturday kick-off on Sky Sports en route to going up from the Championship.

The fixture has attracted the Sky cameras again (12.30) and the forecast is rain - but the outlook is brighter for more hard-earned profit in Wales after winning 1-0 at Swansea a year ago.

Even without Gross.