After Brighton’s spectacular start to the season with only one defeat and four wins, the question has to be asked if they can push for a European spot.
Usually, the “Top Six” would take these spots without question but with uncertainty around Arsenal and Spurs, the 5,6 and 7th position could be up for grabs. With Brighton having a favourable set of fixtures excluding Manchester City and Liverpool and could go up to a first place with a win against Crystal Palace.
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Here are 4 Reasons why Brighton can Qualify for Europe
1. Graham Potter
As a player, Graham Potter had a promising start after being capped for England’s Under 21s and went on to play for numerous clubs including Southampton, Stoke and Birmingham most noticeably, making 307 appearances in the English Football League.
His management began in 2010 as the coach of Ostersund in Sweden, famously being Arsenal at the Emirates in the Europa League. After managing Swansea in 2019 he was given a chance at Brighton and has been a match made in heaven ever since. Potters tactical approach has always been fluid and instructs play out from the back in a 4-2-3-1.
However, in the opening games of the season, he has adopted a 4-4-1-1 and has altered his team to patiently build out from the back and look for direct passes after a press from the opposition team has been triggered. Overall, Potters good management skills, tactical fluidity and passion have made Brighton a contender for Europe after 5 games and 12 points.
2. Yves Bissouma
Yves Bissouma was picked up for £17 million from Lille back in July 2018, he has been increasingly important for the team from season to season and has gained interest from top teams across Europe.
He mainly operates in a 2-man midfield with former Liverpool man Adam Lallana, his impressive box-to-box abilities along with an engine and work rate to match anyone in the Premier League allows him to cover a lot of ground in central areas. In possession, he has had the task of assisting the build-up play and dropping into half-spaces.
With an assist and 3 shots in the opening 5 games of the season, Yves Bissouma’s attacking has also improved dramatically improved. Bissouma could arguably start in any team in the Premier League excluding Liverpool and Manchester City and is a vital member of Brighton’s team who will have a big role to play in the 21/22 season.
3. Shane Duffy
The 29-year-old Irishman has been a shining light in the already blossoming Brighton. After a poor loan spell at Celtic, not many would have guessed his impressive start to the season.
Two main improvements from previous seasons are his improved distribution and aerial ability, Brighton have on average 56% possession and subsequently, Duffy has had an average of 58.8 passes per 90, higher than any previous season by a mile. Duffy’s passing accuracy has been noteworthy amongst the best in the Premier League with 87.8%.
In the first 5 match weeks, Duffy has ranked top 3 times among other defenders in the Premier League with 27 ariel duels won, 23 headed clearances and 29 clearances in total. No Premier League defender has had more shots inside the box than the Seagull’s defender with a total of 10 from close range. This impressive start will be hopped to continue as he has been crucial not only in defence but in attacking set-pieces.
Brighton’s mix of youth and experience has perfectly worked this Premier League season with an average age combined of 27.3. The older senior players such as Danny Welbeck, Adam Lallana and Shane Duffy have all performed to a high standard and kept the rest of the squad on their toes.
After a terrific start to the season Brighton need to stay realistic and level-headed, something players like Lallana can cope with, someone who has won the Premier League, Champions League and Club World Cup.
These players also add depth to the slim squad who already have two main players in Tudor Baluta and Adam Webster, both out with injuries.
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