Brighton and Hove Albion narrowly survived relegation last season. They start the new term with a new manager and a lot of work to do. New players are already being signed but there could be some notable departures too.
The Seagulls ended the season a place and two points above the relegation zone. Brighton only won nine league games last season. Twenty times they tasted defeat in the Premier League. Only three points were earned from their last nine league games. It was a spectacular drop in form at a time when they made their way to the FA Cup semi-finals.
Their main signing so far in the summer transfer window has been that of Leandro Trossard from Genk for £15m. He scored 14 goals for Genk last season when they won the Belgian Jupiler League. Brighton will be hoping he can repeat that success in the Premier League. Also signed has been defender Matt Clarke from Portsmouth. It’s looking as if their England defender Lewis Dunk may be leaving. Leicester are keen on signing him if Harry Maguire leaves. Brighton have also lost Bruno who retired at the end of last season.
Where do we start? Brighton have only scored 69 goals in the past two league seasons (only 126 less than Manchester City). When their form dipped in the latter part of the season, they went seven league and cup games without scoring. They scored less than 20 goals both at home and away. Top scorer Glenn Murray has to stay fit and their new signing from Genk has to be a success. If you think Brighton will stay up, SkyBet will give you 4/9 (1.44).
Home form saw Brighton win just six league games last season. Only 23 points earned and that figure has to be increased this season. That’s definitely the case if their away form remains poor. 24 away defeats in the last two league seasons and only five wins. Just 26 away goals in the last couple of seasons is nowhere good enough.
Soon after their last league game of last season, Brighton sacked Chris Hughton. He’s been replaced by Swansea boss Graham Potter. This is his first job in the top flight and the pressure will be on him for results. He’s 8/1 (9.0) with BetVictor to be the next Premier League manager to leave his job.
Early Fixture List
10 August: Watford (away)
17 August: West Ham United (home)
24 August: Southampton (home)
31 August: Manchester City (away)
14 September: Burnley (home)
Those five opening fixtures give Brighton the chance to make a decent start to the season. You can get odds of 16/5 (4.2) on Brighton winning at Watford on the opening day of the season. The games against Southampton and Burnley in particular are the type Brighton need to be getting points from.
Home form in the first half of the season is going to be vitally important for Brighton. Of their first 10 home fixtures, only one (Tottenham on 5 October) is against a side who finished in the top seven last season. Failure to do well in those home matches could well see them bottom at Christmas. Filling that position has odds of 7/1 (8.0) at Ladbrokes.
Even more worrying for Brighton is their end-of-season fixture list. Their last five home games include matches against Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool.
Another long and hard season lies ahead for Brighton and Hove Albion. They have to score more than 35 goals if they want to stay in the Premier League for another season. Brighton could easily have been relegated last season. If the bottom three hadn’t been so poor, that would have been the case. A lot is going to depend on their home form unless Potter can sort out their terrible away record. It may well take the magic of Harry not Graham Potter to keep Brighton alive this time around. Brighton are 2/1 (3.0) at William Hill to be relegated this season.