Neal Maupay

'Brighton Are On Course For Highest-Ever Finish'

Brighton & Hove Albion's squad depth, plus recent performances in two clashes with Chelsea, can give the Seagulls heightened confidence when they visit King Power Stadium, says The Athletic's Andy Naylor.
More on this story...

- Leicester City host Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League on Sunday (2pm kick-off)
- Graham Potter's men are currently on a six-game unbeaten run in all competitions
- The Athletic's Andy Naylor believes the Seagulls are growing in top-flight stature
- He says confidence is high that 2021/22 could end with their highest-ever finish

The south coast club are Leicester City's next home opponents in the Premier League on Sunday (2pm kick-off). Brighton sit above the Foxes in the standings by a margin of four points, although they have played two more fixtures, after Adam Webster secured a 1-1 draw with Chelsea on Tuesday.

It was the second stalemate with the west London outfit inside three weeks, while Graham Potter's men are also on a six-game unbeaten run in all competitions. Before Wednesday's clash with Tottenham Hotspur, though, Leicester had won their five most recent games on Filbert Way.

Sunday's meeting promises to be an intriguing encounter between two sides jostling for places in the Premier League and Naylor, who spoke to LCFC Radio's Matchday Live show this week, believes Brighton will approach the game with a sense of confidence. 

"If you look at where they are in the table, they’re just coming off the back of another 1-1 draw with Chelsea," he said. "They’ve played Chelsea twice in the space of three weeks, both finished as 1-1 draws. They left it very late at Stamford Bridge to equalise, but totally deserved the result there.

"They were the better team and it was a repeat scenario at AMEX Stadium on Tuesday evening. They went behind, got back level earlier this time, but again, they were the better side. It wouldn’t have been an injustice if they won the game.

[The Brighton fans are] seeing this young, developing squad really emerging and flourishing, in their performances and results now.

Andy Naylor The Athletic

"They’ve come out of that spell, after they lost on penalties in the Carabao Cup at Leicester, where they went a total of 12 games without winning. Just for context, there were a lot of draws in that, including Liverpool away, for example. It wasn’t perhaps as bad as it sounds.

"They’ve come out of that and are now six unbeaten in all competitions. They haven’t lost for five in the Premier League, so they’re on course for their highest-ever finish and their highest-ever points tally.

"[The Brighton fans are] seeing this young, developing squad really emerging and flourishing, in their performances and results now."

Neal Maupay leads the way in the top-flight scoring charts for the Seagulls with seven strikes to his name, while Alexis Mac Allister and Leandro Trossard have found the net on four occasions. Adding more goals to their game has been a key ingredient in Brighton's encouraging season, Naylor says.

"That’s really important because there has been this narrative for some time about Brighton needing a striker, which was a little disrespectful to Neal Maupay because he’s on eight or nine in all competitions this season," The Athletic reporter added.

"He’s heading towards double figures and they’ve got Leandro Trossard essentially playing as a versatile forward now. They were without Danny Welbeck. He had a hamstring operation after a long-standing problem. Against Chelsea (on Tuesday), it was his first start since September.

"He’s on the way back. He came off the bench to equalise at Stamford Bridge (on 29 December) as well. They’ve also got this array of attacking midfielders. Adam Webster chipped in with an equaliser this week from a set-play. It is important they have those goals from different areas.

"The way Graham plays, they quite often play with only one recognised forward. Against Chelsea, he started with Maupay and Trossard on the bench."

Expand photo
Graham Potter
Graham Potter

Graham Potter's Seagulls are enjoying a productive season in the Premier League.

Brighton have been without some key players in 2021/22 but continue to pick up results. Naylor says that squad depth, coupled with growing top-flight experience, is enabling Potter's side to be competitive in every single game they play.

Asked how they will approach Sunday's Leicester clash, he continued: "With a fair amount of confidence. They get very good away support wherever they go. There’s always a strong turnout away. Why wouldn’t they be confident coming off the back of a result and performance against Chelsea?

"Whether it’s home or away, there are two main aspects that have changed with this Brighton squad. There used to be games where you’d think they didn’t have much chance of getting a result. They are actually no games they go into where you think that now.

"The way the squad is developing, when they’re without key players, it doesn’t make a difference. They’ve been without their captain, Lewis Dunk, since December. He may or may not be back in the reckoning for this game. Yves Bissouma’s been away for the last four games at the Africa Cup of Nations.

"Most people would say that’s two of Brighton’s best players. Adam Lallana was out against Chelsea, injured. The squad has developed to an extent now where strength in depth is such that they bring other players in and it doesn’t adversely affect them."




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