Brighton news, season preview: The 2020-21 Premier League season is almost here and our season previews will give you all of the information you need to know about each of the 20 PL clubs.
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Okay, time to focus on the Seagulls…
Brighton & Hove Albion
2019-20 finish: 15th (9W-14D-15L, 41 points)
Head coach: Graham Potter
2019-20 PL top scorer: Neal Maupay (10 PL goals)
Location: Brighton and Hove
ProSoccerTalk’s key topic on Brighton: Season no. 2 for Graham Potter
Graham Potter’s first season in charge at Brighton has to be viewed as largely successful for the simple fact he managed to keep the Seagulls in the Premier League for a four season running. Not only did they stay up, but they finished seven points clear of the relegation zone and recorded the club’s highest-ever PL points tally with 41. Things went so well that Potter signing a long-term contract extension through the summer of 2025 barely six months after his appointment.
Depending on how you look at it, Potter either has an aging squad on his hands, or a veteran group full of experience. Of the 11 players who played more than 1,800 minutes in the PL last season, only three are younger than 28 years old — Maupay (24), Trossard (25) and Webster (25).
Brighton news: The current situation
Brighton need more goals, from more individuals, this season — it’s really as simple as that. Their defensive record (54 goals conceded in 38 games — 12th-best in the PL) carried them over the line last season, while they struggled mightily at the other end of the field (41 goals in 38 games — 15th-best). Neal Maupay hit double figures in his first PL season, and Leandro Trossard scored five himself, but no one else scored more than three goals. Two of the three players to score there were center backs Lewis Dunk and Adam Webster. 32-year-old Adam Lallana and 28-year-old Joel Veltman, Brighton’s two biggest signings of the summer thus far, won’t do anything to skew the squad any younger.
Key Brighton news, season objectives
- Find 2,000-plus minutes for 20-year-old forward Aaron Connolly, who hit the 1,200-mark last season and scored three goals. Maupay scoring a dozen and Connolly chipping in with six or eight of his own would represent a massive step forward.
- Balance the substance with the style. Potter’s side played some attractive stuff last season, and they did so while remaining defensively solid. That’s tough to do, but can they do it again?
- Following finishes of 15th, 17th and 15th in their first three PL seasons, it’s time Brighton take a leap to mid-table status and leave the days of relegation battles behind.
- Adam Lallana: Signed from Liverpool on a free transfer, the 32-year-old midfielder has dealt with more than a few injuries in his career.
- Joel Veltman: Signed for $1 million, the 28-year-old center back/right back spent nearly a decade in Ajax’s first team.
ProSoccerTalk’s prediction for Brighton in 2020-21
Until fully proven otherwise, Brighton look set to be largely the same side — with the same strengths and the same flaws — again this season. They’re a functional side capable of keeping plenty of possession and defending that way, but they’re yet to secure the star playmaker they need to make the mid-table leap mentioned above. It’s quite clear, even after just one season, they have a mid-table — maybe even top-half — manager leading the squad, and that’s worth plenty in its own right.
There’s something to be said for having a clearly stated identity before the season even starts. That’s worth a handful of points all by itself, and so often it’s a handful of points that separate relegated sides from the ones ultimately go down. Until further investment is made, expect Brighton to finish 15th or lower. This season should be no different.