The exit of Graham Potter to Chelsea leaves a difficult position to replace at Brighton. The Englishman coached had obtained great outcomes last season, as he finished 9th in the table after multiple campaigns where his team was on verge of relegation.
The roster that was under construction showed signals that Potter had the confidence from the club to maintain the momentum with the aim of even maybe reaching a minor European spot.
The start into the new season was outstanding, as they grabbed four wins, a draw and a defeat, which put them right in the European area of the table. The sack of Tuchel and the offensive from the ‘Blues’ to sign the coach for Brighton changed it all.
Roberto De Zerbi was the chosen replacement, with the experience of coaching Sassuolo and Shakhtar Donetsk. He is a big admirer of Guardiola’s philosophy, as he bases the playing style of his teams on attacking through the ball possession and the constant pressing after a lost. In Italy, his approach was certainly the opposite to what they are used to.
His most common systems are a three-man defensive line and wingers within the box as if they were second strikers, in a kind of a 5-2-2-1 draw or a classic 4-2-3-1. Several players are going to take over important roles, such as Robert Sánchez, who will have to position himself between the central defenders when playing the ball from backwards in order to help at building the play, as he is an optimal keeper with the ball on his feet. The full backs, Estupiñán and Lamptey, are also the ideal option for the verticality that the team wants to display in its game.
The hero of Anfield:
His debut in the Premier League was against Liverpool, where we could already witness some of the football ideas that the new head coach for Brighton is about to display. The current roster facilitates them to look for the verticality on their playing style and the gaps between lines. Their ball possession stands out more for their effectiveness than for their accumulation.
The game started off the best possible way, with a brace from Trossard at the 17th minute. Liverpool managed to come back with a pair of goals from Firmino and and own one by Webster. However, Trossard got his historical hat-trick to put the final 3-3 draw in the scoreboard in De Zerbi’s debut on the bench.
De Zerbi has found at Brighton a league where he can display his game and a roster that believe in his plan. The gap in the bench that Potter has left is huge, but the club does not chase any other big aspirations either but just keeping themselves in the right track.
Time will show how far this team can get, but we will certainly have an attractive and brave football guaranteed down the road. Next game will not be an easy one for sure, as they face Tottenham of his countryman Conte.
Translated by Guillermo Bermejo.
Main image: @OfficialBHAFC.