Analysis: Will Brighton regain clinical edge in London?
BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 28: Yves Bissouma of Brighton & Hove Albion during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Everton at American Express Community Stadium on August 28, 2021 in Brighton, England. (Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

Premier League action returns this weekend after a momentary pause in the gripping campaign as players donned their national colours for the first international break since the summer.

Brentford and Brighton & Hove Albion are two sides with their eye on upper echelon of the division as they prepare for what is projected to be a frenetic and entertaining encounter on Saturday.

The managers of the respective sides – Thomas Frank and Graham Potter – will be analysing the path to victory for their sides and deliberating over the tactical approach best fit to overcome the efforts of the opposition. 

Both clubs currently reside in the top-half of the table after promising starts, albeit after merely three games played. 

Chatter around the prospect of a commendable campaign ahead will only be further fuelled with a win on Saturday afternoon; and for Brighton, a positive away performance will require diligence as Potter crafts his match plan.

Chance to rebound from defeat

After dispatching their opposition in the first two fixtures, Brighton’s mounting confidence suffered a setback on home soil as they were soundly beaten by Everton.

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Despite characteristically dominating possession, the Seagulls could not fit the pieces this time around against a tactically resolute defence and failed to secure the win for the first time in four matches across all competitions this season. 

Fans certainly should not despair, however. There will undoubtedly be further obstacles this season but the work that Potter achieving by creating cohesion and instilling a shrewd tactical philosophy into his players is the chief reason behind the acclaim that has been received thus far. 

Brighton must maintain their possession-based plan and utilise the approach to patiently wait for an opening and swiftly establish pockets of offensive space in which to exploit.

Amazingly, only Manchester City and Liverpool have completed more passes than Potter’s team this season. 

Unlike the previous fixture, Brighton must now use such possession effectively to create chances and wear down Brentford’s defensive solidarity. 

Fluid transitions paramount 

The Seagulls often utilise a back-three formation - usually consisting of Adam Webster, Shane Duffy, and Lewis Dunk – and play tactically sound and fluid football. 

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Dogged wingers are paramount to the team’s success on the pitch and aid the transition from defence to attack with swift movements, as well as contributing with varying crosses into the box. 

This offensive method runs primarily through Pascal Gross, whose 29 crosses this term have been bettered only by Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold’s 31.

Gross has been pivotal towards his club’s early endeavours and has contributed with two assists towards Brighton’s four goals thus far; in fact, no midfielder has created more chances across the opening three league matches than the German playmaker’s nine. 

Subduing a rising talisman

Ivan Toney was the name on everybody’s lips when the discussion arose of which Premier League newcomer would receive plaudits for their efforts once plying their trade at top-level.

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So far, he hasn’t disappointed. Toney got his first goal in the division in Brentford’s third game – against Aston Villa with a driven effort, but his overall play throughout each match has left no question towards his ability to serve as the Bees exemplary focal point.

With the initial goal under his belt, he will be hungry to grow his tally and extend his sides commendable unbeaten start to the campaign, and Brighton’s defence must be sharp and alert to alleviate the danger in the box. 

Breaking the Sky Bet Championship goal-scoring record with 31 strikes, Toney surpassed expectations as his side achieved promotion and will be confident of emulating the heights reached in the top-flight. 

Webster, Dunk, and Duffy must demonstrate aerial prowess and be alert with intercepting to restrict Brentford’s talisman and return to winning ways. 

The verdict

Brighton’s previous encounter away from home in the Premier League ended in a resounding victory over Burnley to kick the campaign off to a winning start, and Potter will be confident of emulating the triumph. 

Expect the Seagulls to establish a flowing passing game from the opening period and attempt to bypass a Brentford defence that has laudably demonstrated its capabilities after the maiden period of its Premier League tenure. 

The pressure and determination of each side does not come into question, and the outcome of the fixture will largely come down to who can combine the elements on the day.