Why Brighton Fans Should Be Worried After 0-0 Watford Draw Leaves Tame Seagulls With Just One Point
All Brighton fans knew this season would be one of the hardest in the club's long and storied history.
After achieving promotion last season with the likes of Glenn Murray, Tomer Hemed, Sam Baldock and Anthony Knockaert all running riot in front of goal, the Seagulls have been toothless so far during their debut Premier League campaign.
And although many fans of the south coast club would have anticipated a difficult start to life in the top flight, performances have been worrying so far.
While the heart and courage among the players cannot be doubted, the lack of bite in the final third is a seriously worrying problem, one which mirrors Middlesbrough's ill-fated 2016-17 season.
While it is no doubt a positive to set up well at the back and be hard to beat, which they were in the 0-0 draw against Watford, Chris Hughton's men are yet to score in the league and the longer that run continues, the more confidence will begin to diminish.
You could argue Brighton were unlucky in their 0-0 draw with Watford. You could claim, having hit the woodwork twice through Knockaert and Hemed, that they deserved all three points.
But, unfortunately for Brighton, the Premier League is a ruthless place, something the new boys will have hopefully learned during their first few weeks in the top flight.
Having held out for so long in their opening fixture against Manchester City, a mistake was to blame for Sergio Aguero's opener, while slack positioning accounted for Lewis Dunk's own goal.
Conceding a goal in the first minute of a match, like Brighton did against Leicester last week, is just unforgivable, especially when you're a newly-promoted side struggling in front of goal and scrapping for your lives.
A good point away from home . We deserved better with the chances but a lot of positive things to take ... thanks for your support again 🔵⚪️— Anthony Knockaert (@AKnockaert) August 26, 2017
The two disappointments against City and Leicester meant Brighton desperately needed something against Watford, and in all fairness a point against Marco Silva's side would normally not be the worst result in the world.
However, after Miguel Britos was sent off for a brutal challenge on Knockaert, Brighton surely will have known that, as ideal games to win in the Premier League go, this was a potential victory firmly in their grasp.
But a lack of penetration coupled with the inability to find the killer pass saw Brighton pass up the chance to grab their first ever Premier League win, instead settling for a point ahead of their home tie against West Brom after the international break.
Is there a lack of effort on display? Absolutely not. Is there a clear wealth of players capable of playing in the Premier League? Sadly, there is not.
Glenn Murray's goals fired Brighton into the Premier League but his best goal tally in the top flight for a season is seven, achieved during his spell with Crystal Palace.
Pascal Groß and Markus Suttner both have experience playing for lower-table Bundesliga sides, but are they players Brighton can look to to dig the side out of trouble when called upon?
Many Brighton fans are hoping to enjoy the season they will spend in the Premier League but they may have to search for enjoyment off the pitch rather than on it, with goals so far yet to flow and a defence too brittle to hold off attacks.
It remains early in the season and Brighton could still find that clinical edge they are so desperately striving for, but fans of the Seagulls should be bracing themselves for a drop back down to the Championship.