Preview 2018-19: Brighton Beautiful
With plenty of new arrivals, Brighton’s main aim this season is to consolidate their top-flight status06 August 2018 | Sally Freedman
Many pundits tipped Brighton to be relegated last season, especially when they only managed to secure one point from their first three matches. However, the Seagulls defied the odds and secured their Premier League status with a memorable 1-0 home win over Premier League giants, Manchester United, with two games to spare.
Having said that, Brighton finished in 15th place, just seven points above the dreaded relegation zone meaning some level-headed fans will realise it’s not quite time to get carried away. After winning only two away games last season, Brighton will particularly be looking to improve their away record in 2018-19 campaign.
Positively, Brighton will go into their second season in the Premier League with a winning mentality as they beat French outfit, FC Nantes 2-1 in the their most recent pre-season friendly.
Brighton start the Premier League away at Watford. The following week, the Seagulls welcome back Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United to the American Express stadium for their first home game.
I’m predicting four points from a possible six in the first two games.
Brighton played a traditional 4-4-2 for a lot of last season which saw them play a lot of fast, attacking direct wing play with the ‘assist king’ Pascal Gross probing between the lines.
Brighton’s star signing during the summer comes from Iran; Alireza Jahanbakhsh, who is also well known to Australian fans and was recently part of Iran's World Cup squad.
Alireza is an Iran international who is out to show that top Eredivisie players can make the step up to the Premier League. Jahanbakhsh, cost a record £17 million. He scored an impressive 21 goals and claimed 12 assists for AZ Alkmaar last season. Iran fans and Brighton fans are now hoping that he is the player that will make a huge difference.
Other signings include Yves Bissoma (central midfielder) from Lille, Florin Andone (striker) from Deportivo de La Coruña, David Button (Goalkeeper) from Fulham, Percy Tau (striker) from Sundowns and Bernardo Fernandes da Silva Junior (defender) from RB Leipzig.
With these new additions, players who were often assured a spot on the team sheet last season will now face some strong competition which has to be positive in my view.
Having said that, and despite the new arrivals, there is still a somewhat stable feel to Brighton’s squad. The strong central defensive duo of Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk are mainstays and will not be dislodged easily by Leon Balogun, a 30-year-old Nigeria international who has signed on a free transfer from Mainz.
In summary, Brighton look well equipped to survive. Here’s hoping they don’t experience ‘second season syndrome’ and that they are able to improve on their 15th place finish from last season.
With an astute, calm manager in Chris Hughton and a football loving, business savvy Chairman in Tony Bloom combined with a strong well-balanced squad, I’m quietly confident that the Seagulls will be okay
Come on you Seagulls. And, of course, good luck Maty!
brighton, premier league, seagulls