Graham Potter's unusual defensive dilemma ahead of Man City, Leicester and Liverpool
Defender Adam Webster faces a battle to regain his place in the starting XI after Albion’s excellent start to the season.
Webster has been sidelined with a hamstring injury sustained during last month’s narrow 1-0 victory at Brentford but hopes to be available for tomorrow’s match against Pep Guardiola’s Premier League champions Manchester City at the Amex Stadium.
The defender was scheduled to return for last Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Norwich but the match arrived just too soon for the former Ipswich Town man.
Webster has been a key man for Graham Potter’s team for the past two seasons but the £24 million signing could now find it tough to force his way straight back into the starting XI.
Shane Duffy, Lewis Dunk, Dan Burn and Joel Veltman have formed a formidable barrier this season as only Chelsea and Man City have conceded fewer goals.
Brighton were far from their best at Carrow Road and relied heavily on the experience, skill and bravery of their defensive trio.
Dunk and Duffy blocked, tackled and won headers with total commitment while Burn probably had his best game in Albion shirt.
Burn’s athleticism was evident against Norwich particularly in the second half where he executed two perfectly timed recovery tackles to deny Norwich a winner.
Webster’s return is however a huge plus for Albion and his ability to not only defend but to play out comfortably from the back adds a another dimension to Potter’s team.
Even if Webster is not selected from the start for this Saturday against City, the 25-year will likely feature for the Seagulls in the Carabao Cup contest at Leicester on Wednesday.
Potter said of the Norwich game: “This one was a bit too close [for Webster] but he will be training with us Monday, Tuesday so that’s good news.”
The return of Tariq Lamptey also provides the head coach with further defensive options.
Lamptey clearly offers an attacking thrust down the right and also allows Joel Veltman – who has been a reliable presence in Lamptey’s absence – to slot back into the defensive line.
Potter added: “When you keep a clean sheet, you need some good performances from your defenders.”