Jason Ilagan / Shutterstock.com
Brighton & Hove Albion have made an eye-catching start to the 2021-22 season, losing just one of their opening seven Premier League games.
The Seagulls won four of their first five matches, seeing off Burnley, Watford, Brentford and Leicester, before recording back-to-back draws before the international break.
An impressive home debut. 💫 @Cucurella3’s showing v #LCFC is September’s @PorscheGB Performance of the Month! 🏆 pic.twitter.com/petCXLBSkp
— Brighton & Hove Albion (@OfficialBHAFC) October 8, 2021
As a result, Graham Potter’s side find themselves sixth in the table – level with Everton, Manchester United and Manchester City on 14 points.
They are also just one point shy of second-place Liverpool and two points behind table-topping Chelsea.
But how long can they keep it up? Have they got what it takes to keep pace for the duration of the season? Could they even qualify for Europe?
Well, if the early stages of their campaign are anything to go by, Brighton could challenge for a top-seven finish this term.
In Potter, the Seagulls possess one of the most forward-thinking and tactically astute managers in the Premier League.
Having made a name for himself at Swedish club Ostersunds between 2011 and 2018, Potter moved to Championship side Swansea.
It quickly became apparent, however, that he was destined for bigger and better things. So, after a season with the Swans, he was appointed as Brighton manager in 2019.
The 46-year-old guided the Seagulls to 15th in his first season in charge before finishing 16th last term with exactly the same points tally.
Yet, having spent a couple of seasons in England’s top tier, he now knows what it takes to compete at this level.
Brighton don’t concede many goals, either. They have let in just five this season and currently boast the joint-second best defensive record in the division.
They have already kept three clean sheets this term, too, preventing Watford, Brentford and Arsenal from scoring.
One issue, however, is that Brighton don’t score many goals themselves. With eight to their name so far, they are the lowest scorers in the top seven.
Neal Maupay has netted four of Brighton’s eight Premier League goals this season, with Shane Duffy, Leandro Trossard, Alexis Mac Allister and Danny Welbeck chipping in.
Although they are somewhat over reliant on Maupay’s goals, the Seagulls’ sturdy backline makes up for it.
With up-and-coming goalkeeper Robert Sanchez between the sticks and centre-back Lewis Dunk wearing the captain’s armband, Brighton are in safe hands.
Of course, there is still a long way to go this season. We haven’t even played 20% of the campaign yet, so a lot can change between now and May.
But if they carry on the way they’re going, Brighton will continue to ruffle the feathers of the so-called “big six” – and they could even qualify for Europe!