Team Preview: Brighton & Hove Albion
Written by Scott Fraser (@scottfraserrrr)
Brighton & Hove Albion
Newly promoted players often struggle to find themselves any owners, based mainly on the "unknown factor," most of us don’t pay any attention to the Championship, so unless we’re looking at players who have already had a stint in the Premier League, we don’t know what we are going to get.
With Chris Houghton at the helm, Brighton kept the most clean sheets in the Championship, conceding just 40 goals as they clinched promotion. Houghton has managed in the Premiership before so should now knows how to set his teams up to give themselves the best chance of survival.
After playing Man City on the opening day, the next 5 fixtures are friendlier as they face Leicester and Bournemouth on their travels with West Brom and Newcastle coming to the Amex. Lets take a look at who you could bring into your line up.
Lewis Dunk started 43 games as Brighton came 2nd in the Championship last season, he managed 2 goals and 1 assist over the season alongside contributing to Brightons solid defensive record. Priced at 4.5 he could be a good option as your back up defender, especially for when Brighton are playing at home.
Similarly to Dunk, Shane Duffy (4.5) netted twice but in 31 games to Dunk's 43, coming in at 6'3" he will provide a great threat from set pieces and could find himself in the bonus points quite regularly.
Another option in the Brighton back line would have been David Stockdale; he kept 21 clean sheets with 12 of them coming at the Amex. However after deciding to reject a contract offer from Brighton in favour of a move to Birmingham, Australian Matthew Ryan has been drafted in. He’s unproven in England, but being priced at 4.5 makes him a tempting option as a back-up goalkeeper, deploying him in a similar way that many used Pickford last season, save and bonus points.
Despite their stellar defensive record last season, I would only look at Brighton defenders as back up players as the Premiership will be a whole new challenge. However, saying that, if the defence stay as resolute as they did last season then you could be looking at some very valuable clean sheet and bonus points.
The main player I would consider in the Brighton midfield could be FPL gold: Anthony Knockaert. The Championship Player of the Year and priced at 6.0, Knockaert played 42 games last season and came away with 15 goals and 8 assists, a good haul for a midfielder.
FPL managers, including myself, will be hoping that Knockaert can take advantage of Brighton being written off from the outset and cause teams some problems, just as he did in the Championship last season.
Pascal Groß was Brighton’s first signing after securing promotion, coming from relegated Bundesliga side FC Ingolstasdt 04. Despite Ingolstadt only recording 8 wins and scoring 36 goals, Groß managed to chip in with a respectable 5 goals. Upon signing Houghton was quoted as saying:
"He offers something different, as an attacking midfielder operating behind the forward line, he will give us a new option going into the new season"
This is where Groß becomes a very interesting option, he’s priced at 5.5. which is slightly cheaper than team mate Knockaert. Last season in the Bundesliga, Groß created a whopping 95 chances, more than any other player in the league (yes, even more than your household Bayern and Dortmund players). With a current 0.3% ownership he could be the differential you need if he finds his feet.
Izzy Brown is the latest option in Brighton's attack after a successful loan spell at Huddersfield where he bagged 5 goals and an assist in his 21 appearances (including the winning goal in the play off semi final). The 20 year old will be looking to make his mark in the Premier League to celebrate his recent 4-year contract extension at Chelsea. At 5.5 he could be a dynamite option for your midfield to enable you to invest funds elsewhere.
If 5.5 is still to much too tempt you then your next best bet would be Solly March at 5.0. He battled with Dale Stephens (4.5) for a place on the left wing and I would expect him to keep the spot, he scored 2 goals and bagged 3 assists in 21 games last season, so returns will be minimal but he could find a place as your last midfielder.
Brighton's top scorer last season was Glenn Murray with 23 goals in just 39 games. Having had spells in the Premier League before with Crystal Palace and Bournemouth, Murray's Premier League experience is as follows: 52 appearances, 76 shots, 35 (46%) on target with 11 goals (2 penalties) and 4 assists.
With Knockaert and now GroB playing behind him, Murray certainly shouldn’t have a shortage of chances, and with 5 headed goals in the Premiership he is certainly a great target for Knockaert to find from the wings. Coming in at 6.0 he could be seen as a viable third striker option
If you feel 6.0 is too much to part with for a Brighton forward, then Sam Baldock and Tomer Hemed were both used as back ups to Murray and both bagged a respectable 11 goals each. They are both priced at 5.0 but I wouldn’t be expecting them to start.
A big thanks to Scott for this preview. You can find an earlier version of this article at FPL Addicts.