IF TEN Albion fans are asked their opinion on Neal Maupay, you would probably have at least six different ones, but why is that?

Neal Maupay, Albion’s top scorer in every season since signing, and is on course to do the same again this season. In total he has 26 Premier League goals, the joint highest Premier League goalscorer for Brighton, alongside Glenn Murray.

So why is it that Maupay is a bit ‘Marmite’ amongst the fanbase? Looking purely on the comparison, Danny Welbeck has played 24 games for Albion this season, ten of those being from the bench.

Maupay, on the other hand, has made 31 appearances, six from the bench. Welbeck has five goals, Maupay eight, three to five big chances scored respectively, and, more surprisingly, 11 big chances missed for Welbeck, but only five for Maupay.

Incredibly, Maupay would be known as the ‘less prolific’ striker, just based on common opinion. Stats via Premier League website.

The Argus: Neal Maupay and manager Graham PotterNeal Maupay and manager Graham Potter

Not only has the Frenchman scored more, but he has scored ‘valuable goals’.

His goals in games have salvaged significant points and results in Albion’s season, particularly away from home. Southampton (98th), Palace (95th), West Ham (89th), and a 98th minute extra-time goal against West Brom.

All of these goals directly earned Albion a positive result. Danny Welbeck has provided, but not as impactful as Maupay.

Goals at Chelsea (91st) and Leicester (90th) were dramatic, and great moments, but the Frenchman has done that more often.

Neal Maupay has had a similar level of a ‘clinical’ season to Danny Welbeck, too. Once known as the ‘xG king’, Neal has only under-performed ever so slightly this season. 8.38xG score, in comparison to Welbeck’s 6.90xG - according to infogol.com, a football statistics website for ‘expected goals’ - the percentage, turned decimal likely to score from a shot taken.

To look at another perspective, Neal hasn’t scored since February. A looping finish over Ben Foster to help see a 2-0 win on the road against Watford.

February and March were rough months for Albion, seven games without a win, and six losses. Maupay, of course, wasn’t the only culprit for this, but he was one of the most talked about.

After March, Albion picked up again. April and May have been good months as Danny Welbeck came into the side, and has complimented Leandro Trossard massively.

It’s a strange concept to imagine the biggest contributor in goals to the team, is actually less valuable to the set-up that Graham Potter has adapted to the team at the late end of the season.

Moisés Caicedo has also made a big difference to the team in the absence of the injured midfielder Enock Mwepu.

Another ball-carrying-midfielder, to work with Yves Bissouma, has taken that extra spot ‘up-front’ - making it unnoticeable that there is that forward presence missing.

The Argus: Maupay has netted eight times this season in the Premier LeagueMaupay has netted eight times this season in the Premier League

Albion signed Maupay from Brentford in 2019. A £16m move for a striker unproven at Premier League level, it’s a big step up - and probably bigger than is taken credit for.

Maupay had largely played with a strike partner throughout his career, most memorably Ollie Watkins at the Bees.

This is not something Maupay has had consistently at Albion, meaning he has had to adapt to a new way of playing.

He debatably struggled to fit in with that system, especially to begin with. However, the team no doubt played better with him in the team, for a very long period of time.

He is a good presser and holder up of the ball. Maupay uses his body very well in and out of possession, and is a decent ball carrier too.

In essence, it’s not easy settling into the Premier League. Neal Maupay has outscored players deemed ‘better’ than him in the Premier League this season, the likes of Raul Jimenez, Roberto Firmino, Kai Havertz, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

So what happens next? Danny Welbeck has been in remarkable form, scoring a delicate chip over Illan Meslier in the 1-1 draw against Leeds at Elland Road last weekend.

Despite this, Welbeck should have had more that day. A late header which could have made the scoreline 2-0 and put Albion out of sight, came back inevitably to haunt the team as Leeds defender Pascal Struijk scored a late equaliser.

Welbeck has become relatively un-droppable and is likely to keep Maupay on the bench again as Albion take on West Ham at the Amex on Sunday.

In the last meeting between the teams, a Maupay overhead kick in the 89th minute grabbed a point at the London Stadium, as mentioned previously.

If he repeats the feat on the final day of the season, it would be enough to become Albion’s all time record goalscorer in the Premier League.