Brighton and Hove Albion

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Premier League Friendly Roundup: Chelsea, Man United win

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A handful of Premier League teams were in action on Saturday as preseason training ramps up. While many clubs are on the way to East Asia and North America, those who weren’t took part in a few matches in Europe.

The headliner was Chelsea topping St. Patrick’s Athletic, 4-0, at Richmond Park in Dublin. Olivier Giroud scored a brace, while Mason Mount and Emerson added goals as well.

It was Chelsea’s second game of the preseason and second under the watchful eye of Frank Lampard. Chelsea made wholesale changes at halftime, as all 22 players who took part each played just 45 minutes as the team grows in match fitness.

[READ: Transfer Rumor Roundup]

Earlier in the day, in Australia, Manchester United defeated Perth Glory, 2-0, with goals from Marcus Rashford and James Garner. Read more about it on PST.

Elsewhere, Brighton defeated FC Liefering while in Austria, 5-2. Lewis Dunk, the immortal Glenn Murray, Jurgen Locadia, Leandro Trossard and Florin Andone all scored for the Premier League side. Brighton’s Graham Potter also made 11 changes at halftime, giving everyone a chance to make a good impression in front of him.

Who’s in line for surprise early season run?

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Bournemouth rivaling Liverpool for the Premier League lead in August? Everton in September?

The Premier League schedule makers set some clubs up for potentially hot starts, as some non-traditional Top Four candidates look to mirror Watford’s fun beginning to the 2018-19 campaign.

[ MORE: Full PL schedule ]

We already laid out that Liverpool was blessed with its first four matches, and — sorry for the Merseyside jinx — Everton is in even better shape.

The Toffees will not meet a Top Six sided from last season until late September.

Marco Silva‘s men open at Selhurst Park against Crystal Palace, which is no simple task, but the Eagles may be testing new pieces in the post-Wilfried Zaha and (maybe) Aaron Wan-Bissaka era.

A visit from Watford is next before a trip to Villa Park to meet new boys Villa. A tricky Wolves head to Goodison Park next, followed by Bournemouth away and Sheffield United at home.

When Everton hosts Man City on Sept. 28, could it be for Top Four positioning? Over to you, Marco Silva.

Bournemouth, as we mentioned, is fortunate to draw two newly-promoted clubs at the start of its season. The Cherries host Sheffield United on Aug. 10 before visiting what’s sure to be an electric Villa Park a week later. Man City, Leicester City, and Everton follow, so… it gets tougher!

One side note: Few are expecting a ton from Brighton and Hove Albion this season, but new manager and reputed tactical wizard Graham Potter may be looking at August as his opportunity to make a top-flight splash.

The Seagulls open at Watford, no easy feat but doable, before hosting West Ham United and Southampton. Not one of those matches is simple and Brighton will likely be expected to sit 0-2 before Saints visit the Amex Stadium… but consider this forewarning of a very dark horse.

Graham Potter takes charge at Brighton

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Graham Potter has been named as the new manager of Brighton & Hove Albion.

Potter, who turned 44 on the day he was unveiled as Brighton’s new boss, has signed a four-year deal to take charge of the Seagulls after Chris Hughton was fired last week.

The former Premier League defender, who played a handful of games for Southampton in the late 1990s, has had a nomadic coaching career as he led Swedish minnows Ostersund to several promotions and then qualification to the UEFA Europa League.

In the past 12 months he has stabilized Swansea City after their relegation from the Premier League, with the Swans finishing in 10th place in the second-tier this season amid plenty of financial restrictions and Potter having to lean heavily on youngsters from their academy.

Speaking alongside chief executive Paul Barber, owner Tony Bloom and technical director Dan Ashworth about his arrival at he Amex Stadium, Potter is excited by the challenge of pushing Brighton further up the league in their third-straight season as a PL club.

“I’m delighted to be here. I’ve had a couple of days speaking with Paul, Tony and Dan and I’m impressed with their vision on how they want to take things forward,” Potter said. “I’ve always tried to play football in a positive way but we have to look at the strengths of the players. In any team you have to be defensively organised but we’ll look to bring a combination of both.”

Potter has never previously coached in the Premier League and admitted his entire career has been leading up to this point.

“I’ve worked very hard to make it to this point and the path that I’ve taken has been 14 years of learning and sacrifice. I’ll now do my very best for the football club and help them to develop,” Potter added.

After Hughton led Brighton to their first-ever promotion to the PL in the summer of 2017, the Seagulls have finished in 15th and 17th place respectively in their two seasons back in the top-flight. The main criticism of Hughton was that his side was too defensive and didn’t score enough goals, and they did score the fourth-lowest amount of goals in the PL season (35 in 38 games). However, many will argue that Hughton set his team up to defend well and grab goals from set pieces and crosses, as he knew that was the only way he could keep Brighton in the PL with the squad of players he has.

Potter will be tasked with transforming the style of play for Brighton, as his teams play a possession-based game which while also launching quick counters when possible. Whether or not he has the players to make this a success remains to be seen, but Potter will likely be given funds to add to the squad to ensure Brighton are not battling against relegation during the 2019-20 season.

Brighton ready to pay release clause for Swans manager

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Brighton and Hove Albion is ready to bring one of England’s brightest managerial prospects into the Premier League.

The Seagulls are set to pay a $3 million release clause to lure Graham Potter away from Swansea City, one year after the manager left Swedish club Ostersunds FK.

[ RECAP: Man City 6-0 Watford ]

Potter was 35 when he was hired by the Swedish club in 2010, and helped Ostersunds to three promotions before moving to Wales in 2018.

Swans finished 10th this season, its first in the Championship after relegation from the Premier League.

Brighton regressed in a big way during the second half of this season, and remains in the top flight largely because Cardiff City was unable to take advantage of the Seagulls’ huge struggles.

The report says Swansea offered Potter a new deal to stay at the Liberty Stadium, but the manager wants to try the Premier League.

If he takes the job, Potter will manage against one of his former clubs; Potter played eight times for Southampton in the Premier League.

Report: West Brom looks to snap up Hughton

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West Bromwich Albion is ready to turn to a promotion veteran in its bid to return to the Premier League.

Chris Hughton is in frame for the Hawthorns set, which controversially fired Darren Moore earlier this year with the club in fourth place. The Baggies bowed out of the Championship playoffs with a Tuesday loss to Aston Villa.

[ MORE: McKennie backs Pulisic for Chelsea ]

Brighton and Hove Albion fired Hughton on Monday, the day after the Seagulls completed the Premier League season in 17th place. They were 10th after 15 match days but won just three more matches in skidding into a relegation campaign.

Should Hughton get the job, he could have a very different set of players from the group which made the playoffs. From Sky Sports:

Whilst Albion have no debt and no need to sell, we have been told there was a verbal agreement with a number of players who were relegated from the Premier League last year, that if the team did not win promotion at the first attempt, they would be allowed to leave this summer, assuming a suitable bid was tabled.

Hughton also led the Seagulls to the FA Cup semifinals, two years after guiding the club into the Premier League via a second place finish in the Championship. He’s also guided Newcastle to promotion and helped Birmingham City to a fourth place finish in the second tier.