It is possible that Brighton 22/23 is not a ceiling but a start. It is difficult to say because the scouting and financing model of the club is designed so that one year they sell Cucurella, Graham Potter or Bissouma, others Trossard or Ben White and other years Caicedo, Robert Sanchez or Mac Allister. Maintaining and/or raising the level of competitiveness and demand in a league like the Premiership when you renew several players every year is difficult but Roberto de Zerbi does not think so, with whom Brighton have maintained the best figure of xG per 90 minutes since the Italian has led the Seagulls.
Brighton have thus started the season far exceeding their own standards of play and doubling up on many stats and metrics against the best teams in the Premiership. In just two games they have been able to generate almost six expected goals, almost twice as many as Manchester City. And also doubling Arsenal in shots on goal, while being even more suffocating in the pressure on the opposition.
And the degree of precision that Brighton’s play is conveying makes them a unique team. Unlike other teams that play intense and fast, Brighton are best at using pause, patience and timing to change pace. Chris Davies, Tottenham’s assistant coach, put it this way. “What has come into the Premier League recently is the idea of pause and Brighton are very good at that. Before, everyone was trained to play fast, free-flowing football. They wait. In a few moments, the game is completely static. And then they will accelerate to break the press.”
Although it is early days and these figures will be moderated, playing Luton Town and Wolverhampton, but Brighton are in a position to make a big difference to the middle class of the competition. To get an idea, we compare their first 180 minutes of the season with last season’s averages and see what a remarkable start to the season they have made. Furthermore, in style metrics such as PPDA (Passes per Defensive Action), De Zerbi’s team are at 7.62, compared to 10.5 in 22/23. Big teams will come and everything will even out but the idea continues to prevail and improve with different players.
Individually, in these two games, the team has been able to give the ball to Mitoma in the position where he can do the most damage, adding up to 38 successful drives or ball progressions. The Japanese has started the season very well, with one of the most spectacular goals in recent weeks (goal visualisation).
One of the most important changes has been in goal. The gamble on Verbruggen, a talent with great potential, is still waiting its turn, while Jason Steele has performed really well with his foot, taking on the important role that the goalkeeper has in De Zerbi’s idea and that Robert Sanchez carried out so well.
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