2019/20 Premier League preview - Brighton & Hove Albion: Graham Potter tasked with injecting more creativity
Richard Jolly runs the rule over Brighton & Hove Albion ahead of the new season, including key player, new signing to watch and predicted league finish
Brighton & Hove Albion’s sacking of Chris Hughton the morning after the season ended was brutal. After only two wins in 18 games, it was probably also correct, but the definitive verdict will come this season.
Supposedly progressive reboots of relegation-threatened teams can backfire so Graham Potter will be under the microscope, charged with keeping Albion’s traditional strengths – the solidity of the centre-back partnership of Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy – while changing the style of play.
Brighton have invested heavily in recent years, so Potter has to get more from expensive additions than Hughton did. If not, the drop may beckon.
Who finishes where in 2019-20?
Key player: Glenn Murray
It can’t be anyone else but it has to be a concern that Murray, 36 in September, was the only player to get more than five goals and the second top scorer was defender Duffy. Sooner or later, age will catch up with the veteran. Brighton need to reduce their reliance on him.
Signing to watch: Leandro Trossard
This is the third consecutive summer Brighton have spent big on a winger. Jose Izquierdo showed glimpses before being injured, but Alireza Jakanbakhsh has offered virtually nothing. Albion could do with the £15 million (Dh68.2m) Trossard repeating the form that brought him 17 goals and eight assists for Genk last year.
Talking point: Can Potter make Brighton more creative?
Albion had the fewest shots on target last season. They got less potent as the campaign progressed, scoring only three goals in their final nine games.
Potter is an imaginative manager who is willing to change formations, a coach who can improve players and a purist whose Swansea City team had the highest pass completion rate in the Championship last season.
Brighton have played more functional, safety-first football but, in Trossard, Jakanbakhsh, Izquierdo, Jurgen Locadia and Pascal Gross, they have players with the potential to offer more incision.
Updated: August 2, 2019 03:24 PM