It’s nervy. You just knew it would be didn’t you. Brighton and Hove Albion’s fate in the Premier League looks favourable but still remains in the balance.
A run of seven Premier League games without a victory has left many supporters nervous but some are also frustrated.
This week on the Albion Unlimited podcast we were joined by former Seagulls midfielder Gary Dicker who understands the anxiety but felt people can be too quick to pounce on the style of play as a factor behind any current malaise.
Of course every paying punter rightly wants to be entertained but the target remains staying in the division. In a recent article in the Irish Times Ken Early extrapolates an important trend within the game at the top level in this country.
He quite rightly points out how the top two sides in particular have a style of play that gives themselves easy decisions on the ball and leaves opponents with tough ones. He also highlights the role of full backs who have provided a record number of assists for goals in the Premier League.
Liverpool’s Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold have 20 between them. Teams at the top will naturally dominate possession and attack more but with the current reluctance to use ‘out and out’ wingers as in the past and the preference for a 433 formation it allows the full backs to push on.
So how does this affect the style of play of teams at the bottom of the table? The impact may be negligible in some cases in terms of attack as they are trying to counteract their opponents.
You can try and play out from the back like Huddersfield tried to do against Liverpool but ended up conceding in 12 seconds. Cardiff battle hard, are more direct and aggressive but they may well follow the Terriers down.
Fulham spent a significant amount of their £100m summer spending spree on attacking options and they will be playing in the Championship next season.
There are no rights or wrongs but as Dicker pointed out this week on BBC Sussex you can’t change your style overnight. You have to work with the players you have. If you want to change the style of play you have to change the players. But that doesn’t guarantee results.
If the Seagulls stay up I am sure there will be a huge amount of consideration over the summer about the size of investment, the areas for recruitment, and the style of play going forward.
The balance between entertainment and results has and will remain a difficult one.
This week Brighton and Hove Albion was valued at £224 million pounds and although a fair amount of that is paid out in wages it stands on a solid financial footing.
If it succeeds in securing another season in the top-flight and another bumper injection from TV revenues it may yet have to hold onto the handrail to step up the stairs. Skipping and hopping up to the landing may result in a nasty fall.
To read more by Johnny Cantor, visit www.johnnycantor.com
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