Does Brighton have enough to stay up?

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The Premier League: the crème de la crème of English football, the hopes and dreams of all footballers playing on English soil. Players come from far and wide to play in the English Premier league, with foreign players making up over 60% of all players (far ahead of the top divisions in Belgium, Greece, Portugal, Germany and Italy where around half of all players are foreign born). It is the ultimate feather in a teams’ cap to be a part of the Premier League, and all lower division teams are vying constantly to break into it. Just as teams can join, by excelling in the EFL Championship, so to must teams be relegated to make room; thus the bottom three teams in the Premier League move down to the EFL Championship, and three Championship teams move up. There are 20 teams in the Premier League, and 72 other professional teams that make up the other English leagues.

Brighton 2020/2021 Season

Brighton re-joined the Premier League following a successful season in the EFL Championship in 2017/2017 season where they finished second. Since then they have yet to excel in the top ranks of English football, with mediocre performances throughout the last few years, securing middle to bottom places, marginally above the relegation zone. With a new-ish manager and welcoming in new players, there is some potential in the Brighton team, however they are far away from seeing this potential exploited as of this moment.

Currently, Brighton haven’t exceeded any expectations, and sit 17th place in the EPL, just a few points above those in the relegation zone. Betting on football goes hand in hand with watching the game and many people actually bet on which teams will be relegated, as opposed to who will win the Prem. Sportsbooks reflect Brighton’s precarious position, with odds of relegation being 10/1 (at the time this article was composed). Brighton have played 25 matches and won just 5: with 9 losses and with a goal difference of -6). There is much work to be done for Brighton to secure their place in the Premier League for another season. For now, though, the question is, can they do enough to stay up?

Key players

  • Lewis Dunk

Dunk is a not only the Gulls team captain, he is also a member of the English National team. Despite numerous rumours of a transfer throughout his time at Brighton since the move to the Premiership, Dunk has signed a new five-year contract in 2020. He is a strong goal scorer, especially at converting set-pieces from the corner, and is good at unifying the team and providing strong leadership. To ensure ongoing success, he will need to continue to build on his goal scoring ability.

  • Adam Webster

Signed in 2019 on a four-year deal, Webster started in all 31 matches in the 2019/20 season, scoring three goals and assisting one, whilst also helping the Gulls keep five clean sheets. He has also played for the England U18s and U19s, though currently is not in the senior squad.

  • Dan Burn

Burn has been a start for the Gulls since he joined in 2018. The 2019/20 season saw him play every single minute of every single game, the only player to do so, and was awarded a man of the match is his debut for the Gulls against West Bromwich Albion. Despite a serious injury requiring surgery, he has made his way back into the starting 11, although in the draw against the Wolves, his performance was a little shacks, scoring an own goal, giving away a penalty and picking up a yellow card.

  • Yves Bissouma

The 24-year-old Mali international player is a strong player, with a track record of goal scoring both for his team and for his county and is currently in line for goal of the season, with a blinder against Everton. He has also developed his defensive skills, averaging 3.1 tackles per game and 1.8 clearances in his last 16 games.

Room for Improvement

Whilst there are clearly some very strong players on the team, there is a lack of cohesion and unity. There have also been a number of mistakes made that have and could continue to jeopardise their potential for success. A number of own goals throughout the season have not only helped their opponents and reduced their chances of victory and those all important points but have also demonstrated the lack of communication between players and their goalkeeper. Additionally, the Gulls have seen a number of red and yellow cards that have meant key players, like Bissouma, missing key fixtures. The transfer window may open up opportunities for Brighton to replace players who have failed to make an impact, like centre-back Leon Balogun, currently on loan to Wigan, or Alireza Jahanbakhsh, who failed to score even once this season

The individual components of the team tend to play good football, just not together. This will be a key aspect going forward that manager and captain need to work on, to ensure they do not get relegated this season. It may be a bit too late for Brighton to see any real success in the Premier League 2020/2021 but fixing this now may mean increased potential for the 2021/2022 season.

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