Six things we learned from Watford v Brighton

Alireza Jahanbakhsh on the run at Watford. Picture by PW Sporting Photography
Alireza Jahanbakhsh on the run at Watford. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

Brighton began the new Premier League season with a 2-0 defeat at Watford yesterday. Here's six things we learned from the game.

Things can only get better

It was a disappointing opening day for Albion as Watford were the better side from start to finish.

A double from Roberto Pereyra took the Hornets to all three points on an afternoon when there were few positives for Brighton.

It was a similar Brighton performance to the 2-0 defeats at Huddersfield and West Brom last year, which were other games when Albion just did not get going.

Seagulls boss Chris Hughton had spoken before the game of the need to improve their away form - after collecting just 11 points on the road last season - but they suffered another 2-0 defeat, the same scoreline they lost by on nine occasions in the Premier League last year.

With Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester City to come in four of their next six games, Albion will have to improve to have a decent points return from the opening couple of months of the season.

New season, same frustration

Set-pieces were Albion's Achilles heel last season and the first goal they conceded of the new campaign was from a corner.

The hosts took a short corner to Jose Holebas, whose outswinging delivery was superbly volleyed home by Roberto Pereyra from 15 yards.

Watford could have added a second from another set-piece early in the second half when Christian Kabasele was left unmarked from another Holebas cross but could only head over from close range.

Of the 54 Premier League goals Albion conceded last season, 21 were from set-pieces. They can't concede so many from set-plays again this year if they wish to build on last season's 15th-placed finish.

Positive impact

New signings Yves Bissouma and Alireza Jahanbakhsh came off the bench and both provided a positive impact for the Seagulls.

Brighton made ten summer signings but Bernardo was the only one to start at Vicarage Road. He began the game at left-back, before playing the final hour at right-back after Bruno limped off.

A Dale Stephens volley - which went wide of the far post - was Albion's only effort of note until Bissouma was introduced on the hour.

He blazed a 25-yard free kick high and wide and then fired just wide shortly afterwards after a neat one-two in the penalty area.

Jahanbakhsh sent in a dangerous cross the first time he got the ball and there were clear signs that the duo will improve Albion's squad.

Chris Hughton will have a decision to make in the coming week over whether either begin next Sunday's home match with Manchester United.

Star man

Roberto Pereyra produced a stunning performance to sink the Seagulls.

The 27-year-old was a thorn in Albion's side even before his stunning volley put the Hornets ahead on 35 minutes.

His trickery down the left wing caused Brighton numerous problems as he carried on his form from the end of last season when he scored three in his last six matches.

He showed exactly why he played for two years at Juventus and will be a huge player for Watford this season if they are to stay in the Premier League.

Away fans' disappointment

Albion supporters had been looking forward to the opening game since the fixtures were announced in June and were in good voice before kick-off.

They had little to shout about during the game but some ironically chanted 'We've had a shot' when Yves Bissouma fired a free kick over on 65 minutes.

Some fans took the defeat badly on social media but others were quick to point out it's just the opening game of the season and a number of the new signings will begin to bed in other the next few weeks.

Jose Izquierdo is also still to come back from injury and summer signing Florin Andone was not involved but is set to return to training next week.

Animated on the sidelines

Chris Hughton was animated on the sidelines as he grew more and more frustrated with Albion's performance.

He could clearly be heard shouting instructions and afterwards admitted Albion had been second best, saying: "There are no complaints with the result, I felt we lost to a better side in most departments today.

"We knew it was the first game and what the intensity would be like, but we never had anywhere near enough of an effect on the game that allows you to get a result in the first game away from home."

Brighton's boss will have known the importance of yesterday's game - and picking up a positive result - with some hard matches to come in the next few weeks.