The financial “Holy Grail” of Premier League football finally came to Brighton last season when they gained promotion from the Championship. The big question is, can they survive and thrive? Clearly the Premier League is a totally different proposition from the last time they were involved in top flight football. This will be their first ever season since the top tier was renamed the “Premier League” a quarter of a century ago.
Clearly they will need to strengthen the team. The big question is, can they bring in enough quality in the time that they have? The latest relegation odds can be seen if you like to bet on football and they don’t look too good if you are a Brighton fan. The recruitment side of things hasn’t looked promising so far and not enough quality has come through the door in the summer months. Brighton look to be at least four good players short and there could be tough times ahead down on the South Coast.
Five Reasons to be Cheerful
However, everything isn’t all doom and gloom for their chances and why should they be? There are five good reasons as to why Chris Hughton and his Brighton team can be optimistic.
1. The Chris Hughton Factor
Chris Hughton is a vastly underestimated manager. He deserves far more praise and respect than he actually gets. Getting sacked from both Newcastle United and Norwich may not look great on his CV, but both were harsh. He is vastly experienced and has enough know how to get the job done. His remit will almost certainly be to keep Brighton in the league.
2. It’s Certainly Possible to Stay up
One only has to look at teams like Bournemouth, Burnley and Watford to see that it is certainly possible to be promoted to the Premier League and be competitive. Are Brighton any smaller in stature than any of those clubs? That answer is no! As long as the board don’t panic before Christmas then they have every chance.
3. The Signing of Pascal Gross
Pascal Gross has been arguably their best signing. This possible rising German star topped the table in the Bundesliga last season for chances created. That is some feat, considering that Gross came from Ingolstadt and not from one of the more fancied German clubs. They will need his creative skills in full this season as well as a striker that is good enough to convert the chances.
4. Team Spirit
This is the one factor that could keep Brighton afloat more than any other. Chris Hughton has forged a “bond” at the club between the players and staff. When they missed out on promotion during the 2015-16 season, the squad seemed to bond together even more the following year. It is always a big ask to come back the following season and do well after coming so close to promotion for any Championship side.
5. Several Premier Clubs are Vulnerable
For any team to have a chance of surviving in the Premier League, we must also assess the opposition that they will be fighting with. Clearly there are a few teams this year who could struggle. Teams like Bournemouth, Burnley, Huddersfield Town, Crystal Palace, Swansea City and Watford will also find life tough. Can we also say that teams like Southampton and West Brom will be totally safe as well? So Brighton could survive merely as a result of three other teams doing worse than them.
So there we have five clear reasons as to why Brighton can stay in the Premier League. It has happened before and it will happen again where un-fancied small teams survive. Even Newcastle United may struggle as more and more Premier League teams are strengthening their squads to avoid relegation scraps. However, Chris Hughton is a fighter and that quality will be on show this season when his teams take to the field in the Premier League.
Carl Sampson is a full time sports writer, poker player and poker coach who runs his own website at www.pokersharkpool.co.uk