HomeManager in FocusBrighton destined for Europe?

Brighton destined for Europe?

The Seagulls have recovered from their mid-season stumble after an explosive start to the campaign, Graham Potter this season once again has shown why he is one of the smartest managers in the Premier League. The fluid way his Brighton side adapts its tactics game by game , and even in game from time to time, is truly special.

Graham Potter is an underrated gem who if sticks around at Brighton could finally make sure the club from the south coast of England could book its deserved spot in Europe very soon.

 

Brighton and Hove Albion fans would be hoping the British manager sticks around to make sure that the Amex will host European nights. This season Potter’s Brighton has evolved further progressing nicely as they will surely be knocking on the door of the top 6 and if they don’t get in they might just break the door to storm in next season.

 

What is so amazing about Graham Potter and his tactics is that no matter the changes to the team sheet or the match by match positional changes his players have to adapt to, his Brighton teams performances do not waiver. The team always plays aesthetically pleasing football with excellent defensive structures. They always create big chances no matter who the opponent is, and the stutter in Brighton’s squad performances has been fixed by Graham Potter with a few tweaks to his tactical setup. Those little tactical tweaks have yielded wins against two of the fiercest London rivals, Arteta’s Arsenal and Conte’s Tottenham Hotspurs.

After that they have taken on Manchester City, Southampton, Wolves and Manchester United. Brighton only lost to Manchester City away from home. They did drop points against Southampton at home,

but their latest 4-0 win at the Amex against Manchester United was evidence of the quality the Seagulls are capable of producing on the pitch. It was also the perfect example of the lack of quality in the Red Devil’s squad right now.

Brighton are enroute to their best points tally in the Premier League and are destined to end in the top half of the table for first time since they came back to the Premier League.

As the season is drawing to a close it’ll be interesting to see where Brighton end up in the league at the end of the season.

Let’s take a look at how Graham Potter has continued to evolve and adapt his Brighton sides tactics and whether they are ready to fight for European spots next season or not.

 

The launchpad

Brighton drastically underperformed their Xg and in turn their expected points last season, they ended the season in 16th position but expected stats showed that they actually should have come 5th. Basically last season Brighton deserved to end in the European spots but were nowhere close.

But last season’s performances have essentially acted as a launchpad for Brighton this season. At the start of the season they seemingly picked up from where they had left off. Their start to this season was explosive to say the least.

After the first 10 games this season, Brighton were flying high with the tactics of Graham Potter. They were sitting in a well deserved 7th position on the table. The new signings of Mwepu and Cucurella were slowly getting embedded into this Brighton side as they adapted to the tactics of Graham Potter.

Their attack was slightly overperforming at the start of this season but their defence was one of the best in the league. Which has become the base of the upsets they have caused this season.

This season in fact Brighton have been one of the best defensive teams in the league which has made them one of the toughest teams to face at home. Graham Potter and his tactics of defensive solidarity has made them the toughest away team to face in the Premier League.

They did have a bit of stutter in the league in the winter. Brighton looked depleted from the start of November to the end of February. The criticism levelled at Brighton, Graham Potter and the tactics was that the team was very easy to cut through and struggled to deal with fast transitions.

It is also important to note that Yves Bissouma, probably the best destroyer in the league, had gone to the AFCON and was dealing with fatigue because of the continental competition.

But since the start of March Brighton has recovered phenomenally. Graham Potter managed to tweak his tactics again and bed in new players to make sure his Seagulls side is ready for next season, and will surely just finish out of the European spots at the end of this season.

 

The Recovery

The way Brighton recovered after the Stutter could be attributed to their new signings and  little tactical tweaks from Graham Potter.

Marc Cucurella and Enock Mwepu, finally started hitting top form around March. They have flown under the radar as the best players in the league in their positions since the start of March.

Mwepu and Cucurella’s all round displays really helped Potter to stop the bad run of form. Mwepu in just under a 1000 minutes has contributed with 2 goals and 4 assists.

Marc Cucurella on the other hand has clearly been one of the best fullbacks/wing backs in the league. He has a goal and an assist in the league, but his performances on the left flank for the Seagulls have been monstrous.

Moises Caicedo is another player who has contributed to Brighton’s recovery. The Ecuadorian midfielder took time to bed into this Brighton side but in the last few weeks has exploded into life. A box to box raider with excellent defensive contribution, he is one of the main reasons Brighton have become an extremely secure side in transition.

He has scored 1 and assisted 1 in the league already , no wonder the likes of Manchester United and other elite European sides were after Caicedo’s signature.

 

The other players who have been performing exceptionally for Brighton this season have been Leandro Trossard , Alexis Mac Allister , Adam Webster and Danny Welbeck. Trossard ,Webster and Mac Allister have been the best players in their position in the league outside of the traditional top 6 sides. Webster and Trossard especially have been magnificent this season. The tactical tweaks from Graham Potter has, looked to use the strengths of these players to make an even more coherent system.

Results are clear for everyone to see. We want to especially highlight Adam Webster who has been one of the standout Centre Backs in the league over the last 2 seasons, and we are shocked that he still has not got an England call up yet! Gareth, we hope you are listening.

 

Next season’s objectives

 

Next season Brighton and Graham Potter will surely look to secure a spot for European competitions. If players like Trossard, Webster, Mwepu, Caicedo and Cucurella continue their development under Potter and pick up from where they will end this season, they will be challenging  the likes of Ten Hag’s United , Moyes’ Hammers and even Tuchel’s Chelsea for an European spot.

Seemingly all they are missing is a 15 goal a season striker that can score goals even if their form takes a dip. Neal Maupay is a good Premier League level striker but he needs competition and support from within the Seagulls rank. If Graham Potter’s Brighton are able to get in a proven goalscorer at the top level Europe will be in their sights.

What makes us more so sure of Brighton’s chances is the capability of Graham Potter to tweak his tactics and ability to slowly and correctly embed new players into his system.

 

 

 

Vidur Arora
A Swansea City fan, who fell in love with the game watching Joe Allen play. Usually found in the wild with headphones in his ears and bobbing his head. Love his art too.

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