Still yet to settle in the Premier League, Brighton once again find themselves among the relegation favourites going into the 2019/20 season. In this Brighton FPL team guide, we’ll be looking for any hidden value in a transitioning side.
Despite Hughton’s organisational prowess, most Brighton fans seem happy to see Graham Potter take the reigns. With their footballing identity so reliant on their rigidity at the back, it was doubtless jarring for Seagulls supporters to see their side concede 60 goals last season.
Regardless, the overwhelming feeling among FPL managers is that value in this 2019/20 Brighton side will still be found in their defensive assets. But Potter was bought in to change this side, not continue his predecessor’s work. And as is always the case for the bargain-hunting FPL manager, with great change comes great opportunity.
What style of football do Brighton play?
Last season Brighton managed to survive the drop under Chris Hughton for a second season, who regularly played a 4-4-1-1 focused on blocking space and surrendering possession in the hope of launching counters to their quick wingers who would look to feed talisman Glenn Murray.
That however was not enough to keep Hughton’s job. Brighton go into the 2019-20 season with Graham Potter from Swansea City, as the seagulls look to play a more expansive style at the Amex stadium that was seen in the Championship and at Ostersunds in Sweden. Potter usually played a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 in his previous clubs, as he instructs his players to exclusively build up from the ball with a wide, stretched shape to progress the ball through the thirds. This is shown heavily in last seasons stats, as Swansea played the most short passes out of all 24 Championship teams (22,073 short passes in 46 games).
Potter will have a good core to work with at his new club, with Pascal Gross establishing himself as one of the best players in the bottom half of the league, regularly creating on the right or centre while also being intelligent in pressing and being a threat from dead-balls. Leandro Trossard also looks to be an interesting addition to Brighton this season also. Coming from Belgian champions Genk, the attacking midfielder proved himself to be a goal threat scoring 14 league goals last season which would be key to taking the goal burden off of Murray, who scored 13 goals last season. The next best scores was centre back Shane Duffy, with 5 goals.
With Lewis Dunk being touted for a move for the upcoming season, the Seagulls could be in the market for a new centre back with the passing quality and aerial dominance of Dunk, something that could be the difference between survival and relegation for Potter’s side.
Last season’s key statistics
2018/19 was a massively frustrating campaign for Brighton. Chris Hughton, their long-term manager (I think 5 seasons qualifies these days) was sacked with one match remaining as they narrowly escaped relegation.
They were underwhelming in all areas, but most evidently in the attacking third with the lowest number of shots attempted inside the box and the only club to average less than 3 shots on target (2.87) per game. Graham Potter has a tough task ahead.
FPL fixture difficulty
The table above shows the fixture difficulty of Brighton’s opening six matches, as determined by our clean sheet tracker and attacking tracker. These difficulty trackers are based on last seasons home/away specific performance statistics. Newly promoted sides statistics have been weighted according to their transitional value.
Who takes penalties for Brighton?
According to our data, Glenn Murray is designated penalty taker for Brighton. Pascal Gross is their backup taker.
Which Brighton players to pick on FPL?
As far as player ownership goes, Brighton’s goalkeepers are by far their most popular FPL assets. Perhaps surprisingly, it’s David Button who leads the line with a huge 22.7% ownership at the time of writing. Brighton’s Number 1, Mat Ryan, is behind him on 17.0%.
Button’s acclaim is an apt illustration of the popularity of bench fodder options this season. The fact that Mat Ryan – who kept just 6 clean sheets last season – is so popular also speaks volumes about the lack of attractive £4.5m goalkeeper options.
It’s their third most popular player who looks to be their best option at the back. Lewis Dunk, who remains at £4.5m after his 91 points last season, has registered 42 goal attempts inside the box over the past 2 seasons. As our best budget defenders article argues, if any defender is due a few more goals, it’s surely him.
Elsewhere, Pascal Groß (£6.5m) is a 160+ FPL points scorer who spent much of last season injured. His role in Brighton’s 17/18 Premier League campaign was nothing short of talismanic, and if the midfielder can find his fitness he could well be fantastic value. Despite playing less minutes last season, he still managed an xA/90 of 0.27: more than the likes of James Maddison, Christian Eriksen, Lucas Digne and, remarkably, both of Liverpool’s fullbacks too.
Finally, keep an eye out for Solly March. His 2018/19 tally of 94 was the highest of Brighton’s midfielders. At £5.0m, he might fit nicely on your bench.