Premier League Team Focus: Brighton destined for Championship return?

Premier League Team Focus: Brighton destined for Championship return?
Simon Winter
Simon Winter
August 5, 2019
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Born in the south east of Ireland, Simon put his life-long love of football to good use when he started a successful independent blog in 2010. That opened up an alternative route to a career in journalism, and having had work published across a number of sites and publications, Simon joined the staff at Spotlight Sports Group in 2018.

Brighton achieved Premier League survival by the skin of their teeth in 2018/19, beating the drop by just 2 points after a nail-biting end of season collapse that saw them draw 3 and lose 6 of their final 9 matches of the campaign.

With the Seagulls in a flap, popular promotion winning manager Chris Hughton was quickly removed from office in May and replaced by the promising, but inexperienced Graham Potter, who was recruited from Swansea City.

However, after a summer where the number of Albion exits outweighed the number of incomings, Brighton’s squad looks worryingly threadbare, and already the Seagulls are among the favourites to finish in next season’s bottom three.

Read more about Brighton in our detailed Premier League Relegation Predictions here.

Position last season: 17th

Top scorer: Glenn Murray – 13 goals.

Key Stats:

  • Brighton failed to score in a whopping 42% of their Premier League away games last season.
  • Only Huddersfield (10) scored fewer Premier League goals at home than Brighton (19) in 2018/19.
  • Veteran striker Glenn Murray scored 37% of Brighton’s total Premier League goals last term.
  • Brighton failed to score in 6 of their last 9 Premier League fixtures last season.

TRANSFERS

Arrivals

Matt Clarke – Portsmouth – £3.51m

Leandro Trossard – Genk – £18m

Adam Webster – Bristol City – £19.71m

Departures

Percy Tau – Club Brugge – loan

Christian Walton – Blackburn – loan

Jayson Molumby – Milwall – loan

Anthony Knockaert – Fulham – loan

David Ajiboye – released

Jonah Ayunga – released

Tyler Forbes – released

Dessie Hutchinson – released

Reece Meekums – released

Rian O’Sullivan – released

Richie Towell – Salford – free

Bruno – retired

Will Collar – Hamilton Academical – loan

Alexis Mac Allister – Boca Juniors – loan

Ben White – Leeds United – loan

Matthew Weaire – Colchester – free

Robert Sanchez – Rochdale – loan

Possible Line-up

Brighton possible line-up 2019/20

Player to Watch

Leandro Trossard

24-year old Belgian winger became Graham Potter’s second summer signing after he completed his £18m move from Genk last month.

The wide-attacker who is comfortable playing on either flank scored an impressive 14 goals and collected 7 assists in 34 league outings for the Belgian side in 2018/19.

Trossard captained Genk and played an integral role in helping the club win their first league title in 8 years.

The Season Ahead

Can Glenn Murray keep producing the goods?

Even though the heavy-shouldered, battle-hardened centre-forward Glenn Murray will turn 36 at the end of September, the veteran striker remains one of Brighton’s most important players ahead of the new Premier League season.

Murray finished the 2018/19 season as Albion’s leading marksman in the league, battering home 13 goals in total, however, the ageing hitman hit the net just 3 times in his last 15 Premier League appearances, suggesting the rigours of a lengthy campaign eventually caught up with him.

Expecting Murray to match his goal-getting output from last year might be too big an ask in 2019/20, though the Seagulls will hope that the imminent arrival prolific Brentford striker Neal Maupay will mean that their reliance on Murray will diminish considerably.

Do Murray or Maupay feature in our Premier League Top Goalscorer Predictions? Click the link to find out!

Brighton Glenn Murray

Dunk/Duffy partnership to end?

The central defensive partnership of Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy has been one of the driving forces behind Brighton’s resurgence and success in recent seasons – though their towering double act could be set to end.

Dunk (5.4) and Duffy (6.9) both ranked in the Premier League’s top 20 for average clearances in 2018/19, while both defenders also made the division’s top 10 for average blocks made per 90 minutes.

Their importance to Brighton cannot be overstated, though the Seagulls seem to preparing for life without half of their superb defensive duo.

Highly-rated Bristol City centre back Adam Webster was signed this week, clearing the way for Lewis Dunk to accelerate his proposed move to Leicester City, where the 27-year old is expected to fill the void left by the departing Harry Maguire.

Albion will hope that Webster can quickly build chemistry with Shane Duffy at the heart of the Seagulls’ rearguard, though the 24-year old will have big boots to fill.

Transitioning to a possession-based team

Brighton finished the 2018/19 Premier League season in 17th place, and the Seagulls also ranked in the same position for average possession per league fixture last term.

Under Chris Hughton, Albion also played the 3rd highest number of long balls (70) per game on average, and played the 4th fewest number of short passes per Premier League fixture (303).

However, this season, under new coach Graham Potter, we are likely to see a complete departure from the direct style Brighton played last season.

Potter’s Swansea City team finished second to Leeds United in the Championship possession stakes in 2018/19 (56% per game on average), while the Swans pass success rate (84%) was out on its own as the highest in the division.

Swansea also played fewer long balls (58) and more short passes (485) per contest on average than any other club in the Championship.

It will be fascinating to see how Brighton’s players adapt to the change in philosophy this season that looks a complete inversion of the methods they employed under Hughton.

Brighton predictions, betting tips and match preview

Brighton Betting Tips

Brighton to be relegated – 2/1

Having only just beaten the drop in May after a harrowing end to their campaign, Brighton will be fearing the worst ahead of the new Premier League season.

After a summer transfer window where the club’s modest business did little to inspire confidence, Brighton’s squad looks worrying low on quality in key areas.

In addition, Brighton have appointed a manager intent on implementing a complete shift in playing style this season. Attempting to turn this Seagulls team into a possession-based outfit, when they have been so used to doing the complete opposite could turn messy very quickly.

When you consider the various factors at play, Brighton look great value at 2/1 to be relegated from the Premier League this season.

Click here or more of the best Premier League predictions and expert football betting tips today!

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