By 90Min
August 07, 2019

Brighton & Hove Albion travel to Vicarage Road on Saturday in their Premier League opener against Watford. Graham Potter will be keen to start off his first season in charge of the Seagulls with a win.

The departure of Chris Houghton at the end of last season was a surprise to many, and those at the Amex will have to get used to a new look side that will be fighting for survival once again.

Here's everything there is to know about Brighton ahead of the 2019/20 season.


Last Season

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It was a tough campaign last time round for Brighton, who escaped dropping into the Championship by just two points. A FA Cup run did give the fans some excitement however, as they reached the semi-finals only to be knocked out by eventual winners Manchester City.

The highlight of the season came early on as they beat Jose Mourinho's Manchester United 3-2, courtesy of three first half goals.

However, the Seagulls' season rather fizzled out in spring, as they could only manage three points - and three goals - in their last nine games. 


Pre-Season

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The results and performances of Potter's side over the summer have been extremely encouraging. Brighton got things underway with a 5-2 victory over FC Liefering; the first time they have knocked five past an opponent since 2017. 

A 1-0 win over Crawley was followed up by a disappointing 2-1 loss to Fulham at Craven Cottage. However, the side from the south coast bounced straight back, thumping Birmingham City 4-0.

The Seagulls saved the best for last as goals from Glenn Murray and Shane Duffy ensured a 2-1 win over Valencia. The result will give a welcome boost of confidence to the squad who will need to replicate the performance when it really matters.


Transfers In

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Brighton have splashed a fair bit of cash over the summer - £59m to be exact. £18m of that was spent on Brentford's Neal Maupay, who scored an incredible 28 goals last season. Potter will be hoping the striker gives an alternative option to the ageing Glenn Murray.

The arrival of Adam Webster from Bristol City for almost £20m will give Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk some competition, or may even give the manager an option to play five at the back. 

The third big-money signing was Leandro Trossard from Belgian side KRC Genk. The 24-year-old winger was snapped up for £18m after an impressive season saw him score 11 and set up four in the Jupiler Pro League. 


Transfers Out

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With almost £60m being spent on new arrivals you would think that Brighton had also made some big sales - this is not the case.

As mentioned, Clarke will play his football at Pride Park next season. Surprisingly, Anthony Knockaert will also be playing in the Championship as he's joined Fulham on a season-long loan. The winger finished last season with seven assists, more than any other player at the club.

Last season saw club captain Bruno bid an emotional farewell on the last day of the campaign. The Spanish right-back was at the club for seven years, making 235 appearances in English football before he retired in May.


Strengths

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Brighton are known for their defensive capabilities. Mathew Ryan will look in front of him and see Dunk, Duffy, and Webster and will feel pretty confident.

Last season saw the side only concede six more than Manchester United who finished sixth, and the Seagulls will be hoping to improve on that again in this campaign.

However, with the likes of Maupay, Murray, Trossard, Florin Andone, and Jurgen Locadia all at Potter's disposal too, the squad is not short of offensive weapons.


Weaknesses

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With the new manager comes a completely different style of play to what we would usually expect from Brighton. The flat 4-5-1 may be replaced by a more fluid 3-4-3, leading to more open and exciting football.

This could be a stroke of genius. However, it will be risky using players, who are perhaps more adept to playing in a rigid system, in a way that they aren't comfortable with. 

Brighton could see this new system be pulled apart by sides who are press high up the park.


Key Man

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Does it matter that he is 35 years old? Absolutely not.

Glenn Murray was part of the Brighton set up when they finished as League One champions back in 2011. On his return to the club in 2016/17 he managed 23 goals in the Championship. The striker has since proven himself to be of Premier League quality with 25 goals in the last two top flight seasons. 

The striker leads the line by example and always manages to grab a goal in important circumstances. With the new youthful signings helping him out by wearing defences down, Murray will be vital in providing the finishing touches.


Predictions

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It'll be tough to predict how Brighton's season will pan out. With a new manager and a new style of football there can be many different outcomes.

If the players adapt well to Potter's philosophies there is no reason why they couldn't push towards the top half of the table.

However, this will take time and the club is more realistically looking at survival in the short-term, with long-term aspirations hinging on Premier League football.

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