By Bulldog Drummond
Brighton are one of those curious clubs (at least thus far in the season) that are doing better away from home than at home – which given the location of Arsenal’s next match is not a bad situation to find.
And having come this far into the season it is possible to apply two other analyses. First we can look at how Brighton is doing against the big seven clubs (indicated in the final column by “7”, this being the traditional big six with Newcastle added this season). And then second we can see how they have done with clubs that can be suspected of being relegation (R) candidates. The clubs in neither category are then left blank in the final column headed “competition”.
|07 Aug 2022||Manchester United v Brighton and Hove Albion||W||1-2||7|
|13 Aug 2022||Brighton and Hove Albion v Newcastle United||D||0-0||7|
|21 Aug 2022||West Ham United v Brighton and Hove Albion||W||0-2||R|
|27 Aug 2022||Brighton and Hove Albion v Leeds United||W||1-0|
|30 Aug 2022||Fulham v Brighton and Hove Albion||L||2-1|
|04 Sep 2022||Brighton and Hove Albion v Leicester City||W||5-2|
|01 Oct 2022||Liverpool v Brighton and Hove Albion||D||3-3||7|
|08 Oct 2022||Brighton and Hove Albion v Tottenham Hotspur||L||0-1||7|
|14 Oct 2022||Brentford v Brighton and Hove Albion||L||2-0|
|18 Oct 2022||Brighton and Hove Albion v Nottingham Forest||D||0-0||R|
|22 Oct 2022||Manchester City v Brighton and Hove Albion||L||3-1||7|
|29 Oct 2022||Brighton and Hove Albion v Chelsea||W||4-1||7|
|05 Nov 2022||Wolverhampton Wanderers v Brighton and Hove Albion||W||2-3||R|
|13 Nov 2022||Brighton and Hove Albion v Aston Villa||L||1-2|
|26 Dec 2022||Southampton v Brighton and Hove Albion||W||1-3||R|
In terms of games against the Big 7, Brighton have played six games and have won two, drawn two and lost two – a very decent set of results for a club not in the group.
Against the five teams threatened with relegation (West Ham United, Nottingham Forest, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Everton, Southampton) they have won three and drawn one, which is pretty much what we would be expected of an upper mid-table team.
As for the rest, Brighton have played five matches against Leeds. Fulham, Leicester, Brentford and Villa. They have won two and lost three – which shows the club’s weakness. This is where they could be doing better.
But it does remind us that the qualification for Europe is not quite as straightforward as sometimes made out. The basic rule is still top four for Champions League, fifth club and FA Cup winners for Europa League, and League Cup winners for the Europa Conference. However if the FA Cup and/or League Cup winners qualify for Europe through being in the top five, then up to two other places open up. So being seventh could be a qualification position for Europe – which could be an incentive.
Looking at this overall we can see that Brighton having done better than we might expect of a mid-table team against the Big 7, does as well as we would expect against the relegation candidates, but have perhaps underachieved somewhat against those battling mid-table clubs. That’s where they will want to improve to sneak into an extra European place if it is available.
All told this suggests that there might have been a bit of an underestimation of Brighton’s potential by the bigger clubs. We can also take it that the club hit the ground running at the start of the sesaon, and were only disrupted slightly when their manager Graham Potter to Chelsea on 9 September.
At that moment the table read
|4||Brighton and Hove Albion||6||4||1||1||11||5||6||13|
Now it reads
|7||Brighton and Hove Albion||15||7||3||5||26||20||6||24|
So they have been pushed out of the top six, but are still doing better than Chelsea.
And indeed if we have a look at the league table of the last six games we can see that across these games they are doing better than two of the Big 7 – namely Tottenham (12th) and Chelsea (15th). Indeed in the last six games Brighton have got only two fewer points that the eternally lauded and praised (by the media) Manchester City.
|8||Brighton & Hove||6||3||1||2||12||9||3||10|
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