Brighton dismantled Leicester City 5-2 at the Amex yesterday as the Seagulls broke their Premier League record of goals scored in a game. A midfield display worthy of the archives; led by Alexis Mac Allister, Pascal Gross, Moises Caicedo, and Enock Mwepu, was enough to beat any side in the division.
Alexis Mac Allister, magic man:
Alexis Mac Allister has been one of the Premier League standouts so far, excelling in a deeper midfield role. Since the departure of Yves Bissouma to Tottenham, in his £35m move in July. Mac Allister was signed by Brighton for £7.2m in 2019 before going through two loan spells, initially back to Argentinos Juniors, followed by Boca Juniors. Since being recalled, it has been a slow and gradual process to be introduced as an Albion regular, but it has been worth the wait.
A strong ability to control the game while creating consistent space has been the theme of Mac Allister’s career; perhaps missing in his game has been a goal contribution return. Previously playing as a free-roaming ‘number 10’, Alexis seemed to be ‘out of the game’ at times, playing with less of the ball and relying on those around him to play the game. Now? Improving as a deep-lying playmaker, capable of covering box-to-box and dictating the pace of the game; the team goes through Alexis, who is complimented by the energy of Moises Caicedo and Enock Mwepu, and the intelligence of Pascal Gross to fit; the sale of Bissouma has proved to be a blessing in disguise.
Alexis has not only adapted his game but added to it. The newfound set piece taker has now scored four goals directly from set pieces already this season. He has scored three from three on the penalty spot, as well as a sumptuous freekick to seal an incredible result at the Amex yesterday. A regular and recognised set piece taker has been missed within the Brighton ranks for some time now as many fans have wondered why it has taken so long for the Argentine to be utilised on dead ball situations.
Graham Potter’s world-class set-up
Whilst the midfield has been performing brilliantly, the tactics from Potter’s Brighton have been spot on. To lose, as mentioned, Bissouma, as well as Marc Cucurella and Neal Maupay, but come away better off, is a testament to a well-drilled team. The hard work put in by the players to match the ambitions is admirable, but the capacity to replace internally as efficiently as the Seagulls have is nothing short of world-class.
Fluidity, structure, and balance, Potter has educated this team in abundance. Unrecognised attention to the smallest details is the key to the consistency of success coached magnificently into this Brighton team. And with results like this, one will only become more and more regular.
Pascal Gross has arguably been the second-best player of the season so far, ever-so marginally behind Alexis Mac Allister. ‘Die Keiser’ has seemingly aged like a fine wine at Albion. Gross, now comfortably labelled as a ‘living Brighton legend’, has turned around his career in the past six months after being linked with a potential move away in the Summer, before signing a bumper new contract at the end of the 2021/22 season. Intelligence and footballing IQ like Gross’ is significant in a Potter side with youth and energy in abundance. Experience pays, and that is reflected on the current side.
With that being said, Caicedo has provided a new intake of energy and running. A true modern-day box-to-box, Caicedo has proven versatility and a simple ‘will to win’ has been instrumental to his impact on this Brighton side. Despite being just 20 years old, Caicedo has cemented himself as one of the first names on the teamsheet on the South Coast and arguably one of the very finest in his position in the Premier League.
Billy Gilmour is the latest addition to this lively midfield, who will learn a lot in this Potter system. A capability to ‘flop’ seems too unrealistic to even imagine.
Ultimately, Brighton are good. Very good. A lot of people knew this, and now even more people do. If there are any reasonable doubters left for Graham Potter’s side, it is only a matter of time before this ‘well-oiled machine’ is taken serious note of across world football.