Tomer Hemed: Flying the Flag for Israel in the English Second Tier
Tomer Hemed is currently plying his trade with Championship side Brighton Hove Albion in English football’s second tier. After just missing out on automatic promotion to the Premier League, the forward also experienced heartache as his team were resoundingly beaten by Sheffield Wednesday in the semi finals of this season’s Championship Playoffs.
However, this season has been a good stepping-stone for Brighton, and under Chris Hughton they’ve got a studious manager, who has performed well with English sides like Norwich City and Newcastle United prior to re-joining the coastal club. Their faith in Hughton has seen the manager secure a new four-year deal regardless of their omission from the Playoffs, reports the BBC.
After signing Hemed in the summer for 2.5 million Euros from UD Almeria, Hughton entrusted the Israeli with spearheading Albion’s charge to the pinnacle of English football. Guardian football writer Jacob Steinberg even wrote at the start of the season that it was Hemed and fellow Israel international Beram Kayal that were the nucleus of Albion’s promotion push.
Kayal is no stranger to British football, as he had a long and successful stint with Celtic in the Scottish league, winning a host of honours during his time in Glasgow. But for Hemed, the pressure to deliver in his first season in Britain was arguably bigger than that placed on Kayal.
The aforementioned pressure wasn’t visible though, as Hemed has had a very impressive first season in English football. Hemed scored 17 league goals in total and provided 5 assists. It was only Brighton’s poor form in the last 5 games, which cost them automatic promotion. Hughton’s men only won 1 out of 5 of their final fixtures in the league, which allowed Middlesbrough and Burnley to finish above them.
Although after a great season in front of goal, the season would end in disappointment for Hemed as he was unable to influence the second leg versus Sheffield Wednesday due to injury. Betfair football writer Andy Tongue wrote before the game, “Just about everything that could go wrong did on a nightmare Friday 13th at Hillsborough for Chris Hughton’s side with four men going off injured in the 2-0 defeat, leaving them to play the last 30 minutes with ten men. Connor Goldson, top-scorer Tomer Hemed, Steve Sidwell and Anthony Knockaert are all expected to miss the second leg.” To the dismay of Hughton, all of the players missed the second leg and Brighton was only able to muster a draw, which wasn’t enough for them to progress to the final on aggregate.
With injuries taking their toll, there was still a sense of achievement around the Falmer Stadium due to their marked progression that’s been visible this campaign. On a personal note, Hemed will also be looking to improve upon his superb tally this term and spearhead Albion’s promotion push in 2016/2017.
To view Hemed’s full statistics, you can view the Transfer Markt profile of the Israeli hotshot.