• Looking ahead to the new season for Brighton & Hove Albion

    The 2018-19 Premier League season was a close run affair for the Seagulls, but there seems to be a fresh feeling about the club ahead of the new season. The departure of Chris Hughton came as a shock to some, even though there were indications the club was stagnating and needed to evolve. The arrival of Graham Potter is undoubtedly the fresh face that was required, and his approach to management could make him an instant hit on the south coast.

    Potter enjoyed a decent first season in English football with Swansea, but his reputation of playing football the way it's supposed to be played stems back from his days in Sweden with Ostersunds. A small club in the north of the country with little interest in the sport was transformed under Potter. The club developed a passionate fanbase drawn to the attractive football and dynamic players on show. Since Potter departed the club they have retained the same philosophy under another English manager, but it was Potter who planted the roots.

    If Potter brings the same level of dedication into transforming a Brighton side that have struggled to find the back of the net, he would be a massive hit with fans. The summer window is the first thing that Potter is having to navigate, and Albion have already made a couple of eye-catching signings.

    However, even with these signings secured, there is still uncertainty surrounding Brightonís chances for the season ahead, and the bookmakers are marking Albion up at 15/8 to be relegated. Combined with the latest betting offers, which be found at www.bestbetsfree.com, this could be a good insurance bet for nervous Brighton fans.

    Scoring Goals

    Most Seagulls fans would say the place where Potter will need to improve the side is in the attacking third. Glenn Murray carried the team with his 13 league goals last season. However, the Englishman isn't getting any younger, and that would be a concern. No surviving team in the Premier League scored few goals than the Seagulls last term, but the addition of a natural goalscorer would undoubtedly ease relegation concerns. Albion have won many plaudits for their defensive solidity since the club arrived in the top flight, and they have done remarkably well to keep hold of both Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy amidst the interest in the duo.

    The arrival of Leandro Toussard is an encouraging move. The winger had been linked with both West Ham and Everton, but the former Genk man followed through on the move to Brighton. His pace and direct approach could make him a star of the season, and his qualities have already seen him capped at international level with Belgium. But, Albionís striking options is still needs some attention, and the club could look to the free market and pursue Daniel Sturridge should the former Liverpool man fit the bill of what Potter is looking for.

    Right-Back

    The departure of Bruno was met with sadness after the last game of the season against Manchester City. The Spaniard has been a revelation for the club since his arrival from Valencia in 2012. He was an integral part of the side that achieved promotion to the Premier League, and the club have often struggled without him. It was expected that Martin Montoya was going to fill the void that he has left, but Bruno's compatriot had a mixed debut season at the club.

    This could be a crucial area of Potter's summer. He could opt to stick with Montoya and give him a chance to make the position his own or, instead, he could look to replace the full-back with a more experienced option. The quality that Montoya has is clearly there, but full-backs are a crucial position in this modern era, and they need to perform week-in-week-out.

    Away Form Crucial

    Brighton only won three times away from the Amex last season, and that a key reason in why they ended up looking over their shoulder towards the end of the season. However, the arrival of Toussard could be essential in how the Seagulls approach away fixtures next season. The new arrival, along with Anthony Knockaert, has the ability to travel at speed with the ball and offer something that nobody else in the team can.

    In a 4-5-1 formation away from home, they could thrive in a counter-attacking style of play. Along with a new pacy striker, they could allow the remainder of the team to defend the goal while the three forwards try to find a route to goal. In theory, it works, but it will be Potter's ultimate planning that could put this plan into action.

    The attacking options will be pivotal in deciding where the club finish next season, but with Potter at the helm, there should be confidence that the club is going to move in a different direction. Coral are currently offering 7/1 on a top ten finish for the club, and should Potter settle into his new role quickly; that could be an achievable aspiration for the club.
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