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Brighton & Hove Albion season preview - predictions, fixtures, summer signings, starting XI

:Headline: Brighton & Hove Albion season preview - predictions, fixtures, summer signings, starting XI:
Sports Mole takes an in-depth look at Brighton & Hove Albion ahead of the start of the 2020-21 Premier League season.
Sports Mole

Brighton & Hove Albion are gearing up for their fourth consecutive season in the Premier League this term.

The Seagulls are beginning to establish themselves as top-flight regulars following their promotion in 2017 and will be looking to build on an encouraging first season under manager Graham Potter.

Here, Sports Mole takes an in-depth look at them ahead of the 2020-21 campaign.



How did they fare last season?

Pretty well.

With a new manager at the helm in the form of Graham Potter, Brighton recorded their joint-highest league finish since 1981-82 by ending the season in 15th - two places and five points better off than the previous campaign.

Indeed, the Seagulls also recorded their highest points tally (41), most goals scored (39) and fewest goals conceded (54) in a top-flight campaign since 1981-82.

Survival was secured courtesy of a goalless draw with Newcastle United in the penultimate game of the season and in their final 10 games of the campaign the only teams to beat them were the ones who ended as the top three.

The highlights included a stunning 3-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in October as well as beating Arsenal home and away, while the main low point was perhaps a 1-0 home defeat to rivals Crystal Palace - although they also exited both cup competitions early and lost 9-0 on aggregate to Manchester City in their two league meetings.



Biggest improvement needed

Home form.

On the whole Brighton made progress last season, but their form at the Amex will have frustrated Potter as they fell to seven defeats at the Amex, winning only five times.

Only Norwich City won fewer matches on their own patch, only three teams picked up fewer points and only two teams scored fewer goals.



Manager: Graham Potter

Potter has experienced an unorthodox route to Premier League management, learning the ropes during an eight-year spell with Swedish side Ostersunds from 2010 to 2018.

In that time he took the minnows from being a fourth-tier side to reaching the Europa League knockout rounds, most notably beating Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium along the way.

Potter's impressive track record earned him a job with Championship side Swansea City in 2018, and after one season in South Wales Brighton were convinced to pay a reported £3m in compensation to appoint him as Chris Hughton's successor at the Amex.



Key player: Lewis Dunk

Captain Lewis Dunk was linked with a move away from Brighton this summer, with Chelsea's reported £40m offer a signal of how impressive he was for the Seagulls last term.

Brighton ultimately staved off that interest with another new long-term deal for the 28-year-old, who has spent his entire career with the club and helped them from League One all the way up to the Premier League.

Shane Duffy's departure on loan to Celtic makes Dunk's role even more important at the heart of the defence, and he will hope to continue knocking on the door of the England set-up ahead of next summer's European Championship.



Summer transfer business

In
Zak Emmerson (undisclosed, Oldham Athletic)
Jensen Weir (£495,000, Wigan Athletic)
Adam Lallana (free, Liverpool)
Joel Veltman (£900,000, Ajax)
Jan Paul van Hecke (£1.8m, NAC Breda)
Ulrick Eneme Ella (free, Amiens)
Andi Zeqiri (£3.6m, Lausanne)
Jakub Moder (£9.9m, Lech Poznan)
Michal Karbownik (£5m, Legia Warsaw)
Danny Welbeck (free, unattached)

Out
Ezequiel Schelotto (released)
Beram Kayal (released)
Anthony Knockaert (£10.5m, Fulham)
Archie Davies (free, Crawley Town)
Lewis Freestone (free, Cheltenham Town)
Percy Tau (loan, Anderlecht)
Warren O'Hora (loan, MK Dons)
Taylor Richards (loan, Doncaster Rovers)
Martin Montoya (undisclosed, Real Betis)
Matt Clarke (loan, Derby County)
Ryan Longman (loan, AFC Wimbledon)
Leo Ostigard (loan, Coventry City)
Aaron Mooy (£4.1m, Shanghai SIPG)
Glenn Murray (loan, Watford)
Shane Duffy (loan, Celtic)
Tom McGill (loan, Crawley Town)
David Button (£990,000, West Bromwich Albion)
Dale Stephens (£1m, Burnley)
Viktor Gyokeres (loan, Swansea City)
Jakub Moder (loan, Lech Poznan)
Michal Karbownik (loan, Legia Warsaw)
Tudor Baluta (loan, Dynamo Kiev)
Haydon Roberts (loan, Rochdale)

Brighton total spent to date: £21.2m
Brighton total received to date: £18.5m

Brighton net transfer balance: -£2.6m




Squad

1. Mathew Ryan (GK)
2. Tariq Lamptey (DF)
3. Ben White (DF)
4. Adam Webster (DF)
5. Lewis Dunk (DF)
6. Dale Stephens (MF)
7. Aaron Connolly (FW)
8. Yves Bissouma (MF)
9. Neal Maupay (FW)
10. Alexis Mac Allister (MF)
11. Leandro Trossard (MF)
13. Pascal Gross (MF)
14. Adam Lallana (MF)
15. Alireza Jahanbakhsh (MF)
17. Steven Alzate (MF)
19. Jose Izquierdo (MF)
20. Solly March (MF)
23. Jason Steele (GK)
24. Davy Propper (MF)
28. Tudor Baluta (DF)
30. Bernardo (DF)
33. Dan Burn (DF)
34. Joel Veltman (DF)
- Christian Walton (GK)
- Jayson Molumby (MF)
- Florin Andone (FW)



Possible starting XI




Fixture list

It is a difficult start to the season for Brighton with Chelsea first up and then Manchester United also in their opening month, but the saving grace is that both of those matches come at home.

An away trip to rivals Crystal Palace comes in their fifth league game of the season, with the return fixture scheduled for February - a month where they also travel to champions Liverpool.

It is a difficult end to the season too with Manchester City at home and Arsenal away in their final two games of the campaign.

SEPTEMBER

14: Chelsea (h)

19: Newcastle (a)

26: Manchester United (h)

OCTOBER

3: Everton (a)

17: Crystal Palace (a)

24: West Brom (h)

31: Tottenham (a)

NOVEMBER

7: Burnley (h)

21: Aston Villa (a)

28: Liverpool (h)

DECEMBER

5: Southampton (h)

12: Leicester (a)

15: Fulham (a)

19: Sheffield United (h)

26: West Ham (a)

28: Arsenal (h)

JANUARY

2: Wolves (h)

13: Manchester City (a)

16: Leeds (a)

26: Fulham (h)

30: Tottenham (h)

FEBRUARY

3: Liverpool (a)

6: Burnley (a)

13: Aston Villa (h)

20: Crystal Palace (h)

27: West Brom (a)

MARCH

6: Leicester (h)

13: Southampton (a)

20: Newcastle (h)

APRIL

3: Manchester United (a)

10: Everton (h)

17: Chelsea (a)

24: Sheffield United (a)

MAY

1: Leeds (h)

8: Wolves (a)

11: West Ham (h)

15: Manchester City (h)

23: Arsenal (a)



Prediction: 17th

Brighton have done some good business this summer, with the signings of Adam Lallana - a Champions League and Premier League winner - and Joel Veltman - a three-time title winner in the Netherlands - for a combined fee of less than £1m looking particularly shrewd.

Nonetheless, they are expected to be in the clutch of teams battling against relegation for the majority of the season, even if they are able to continue their improvement from Potter's first year at the helm.

The new signings - and the fact that they have not lost anyone who would be considered a guaranteed starter - is enough to make us think that they will ultimately survive, though.


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