West Ham secured a 1-1 draw away to Brighton on Saturday afternoon, though they were lucky to leave the south coast with a point.
Javier Hernandez's calm finish on the hour-mark gave the visitors an undeserved lead, but they held on for just four minutes as Leandro Trossard grabbed a debut goal for the Seagulls.
VAR was a key player in the match at the Amex, regularly delaying proceedings and frustrating the crowd. First, Brighton defender Dan Burn was adjudged offside in the lead up to a stunning volleyed finish from Trossard, before adjudication was once again needed to confirm the home side's equaliser - causing significant delays in play.
The match became increasingly stretched as the two teams went in search of a decisive goal, but the pair ultimately had to settle for a point apiece, though there were still tense moments for both.
Ultimately, VAR dominated the headlines - giving the Hammers an agonising wait late on as Brighton appealed for a penalty. The decision not to award one was upheld, though, and it was honours even.
Key Talking Point
On the evidence of their two Premier League games in 2019/20, the Seasiders should have more than enough to stave off the threat of relegation this term. Potter has picked up where Chris Hughton left off in terms of organisation and solidity, making Brighton stern opponents for any club.
They are physically imposing at the back, yet their defenders are equally capable of producing incisive balls forward and spreading play out wide.
The area Potter has most clearly focused his work on is Brighton's interplay and ability to manoeuvre opposing players. The squad all look comfortable in possession, can protect the ball and move effectively as a unit.
Starting XI: Ryan (7); Montoya (4), Duffy (6), Dunk (6), Burn (8*), March (6); Gross (5), Stephens (7), Propper (7), Trossard (8); Murray (6).
Substitutes: Andone (5), Mooy (5), Maupay (3).
STAR MAN - Dan Burn
Brighton wrapped up the £20m purchase of Bristol City centre-back Adam Webster in early August. Saturday's performance suggests Potter and his coaching staff do not need the 24-year-old's services.
Playing on the left side of a back-three, Burn was immense for the entirety of the match. Imperious in defence, a thorn in West Ham's side at set-pieces and capable of surprisingly delicate pieces of play; he was simply colossal.
A deft lob for Trossard's disallowed goal showed a touch of class and poise from the 6'7 Englishman, whilst he was helpless to prevent Hernandez's opener.
Webster has his work cut out if he wants a starting berth in this Seagulls side. Potter is known for selecting players based on form rather than reputation, meaning it will likely be a difficult task to displace Burn.
Dan burn ripping us apart COYI— Derran (@DerranKaye) August 17, 2019
West Ham United
Key Talking Point
This was the first opportunity to properly assess the Irons after they kicked off their campaign with a match against the overwhelming favourites for the league title, Manchester City. What did we learn? Pellegrini still doesn't know how to get the best out of his squad.
The Hammers were wayward for large parts of the game, but also managed to show their quality with some magical moments. There were some delightful team moves and several brilliant solo-runs from Declan Rice, Robert Snodgrass and Manuel Lanzini.
If the Chilean coach can settle on his best lineup and find a game-plan that maximises the potential in this team, there is no reason why Europa League qualification can't be a target for this season.
Starting XI: Fabianski (6); Fredericks (4), Diop (6), Ogbonna (5), Masuaku (4); Wilshere (5), Rice (7); Snodgrass (6), Fornals (5), Lanzini (7); Hernandez (5).
Substitutes: Antonio (6), Sanchez (6), Yarmolenko (5).
STAR MAN - Declan Rice
Few West Ham players made a meaningful impact on the contest. That is certainly not a criticism that can be levelled at their midfield general, Rice.
The England international was energetic and lively throughout, hounding the Seagulls' attackers and working tirelessly to retrieve possession. However, it was not merely off-the-ball work that made him a standout in this Hammers team.
A couple of powerful bursts forward threatened to open Brighton up, though his teammates were wasteful after receiving the ball. Had they been more adventurous - instead of slowing down play - Rice's efforts could have earned all three points.
Masuaku ball watching 🤣 please tell me again how he’s better than cresswell?!— Billy Hamblin⚒ (@BillyHamblin_) August 17, 2019