Brighton is in FOURTH place in the Premier League xG table. If they bet on an attacker, they can hit the jackpot and eventually return to those promising stats
- Brighton delivered a good performance on Saturday in a 2-0 home win against Leeds
- But they still underperform based on the amount of opportunities they create
- And a top scorer can boost Graham Potter’s Seagulls in the competition
When Pep Guardiola described Brighton’s Graham Potter as the ‘best English manager in the world’ earlier this season, it was no joke.
Neither are the reports linking the Seagulls boss to Tottenham, or the stats putting Brighton fourth in the ‘expected points’ table. So you would expect to check out the real table and see Albion comfortably in the top half. But they are not.
The Premier League near-squad are struggling to move from a relegation battle to a comfortable place in the middle of the table, despite this win over Leeds confirming their top status for a fifth season in a row club record.
Graham Potter’s Brighton must contract a striker to move to the next level and climb the table
Danny Welbeck’s late Cruyff turn and finish provided the points after Pascal Gross’ penalty in the first half, but for much of the game it felt like a similar pattern would chase Brighton.
“It was a really good performance that ended in a result and that’s great,” said Potter, noting that dominant displays have often ended with nothing to show for them.
But when it all comes together, as in the blow of Leeds here, it doesn’t take a football genius to see the problem in Brighton: no prolific goalscorer.
The Seagulls performed well on Saturday afternoon in a 2-0 win against Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds
Based on millions of goals, the Expected Goals Metric (xG) has worked out how likely a player is to score based on their position on the field. For example, a striker is much more likely to score in the six-meter box than with a shot from 30 meters.
Brighton’s xG is 51 – 16 more than their actual count. The statistic adds that, based on their odds, they should have a whopping 21 points more – making them fourth in the Premier League; but football is played on the field.
Potter admitted, “If everyone’s chances went in, the game would be a bit boring. The hardest part is getting the ball into the net. Nothing is ever certain. You can spend £ 50 million on someone and that’s no guarantee of success. ‘
Danny Welbeck scored a great goal, but the team needs a top scorer to make progress
On the other hand, a free transfer like Welbeck can be a smart thing to do. The 30-year-old has scored big goals and now looks sharper than ever since his Manchester United days.
Potter will be delighted if Welbeck extends his deal this summer. The manager is also likely to hold on with Neal Maupay, despite just 18 goals in 70 Premier League appearances.
But Potter can only do so much. Brighton is looking for clear opportunities for fun and has a solid defense led by Lewis Dunk, whose lack of attention from England is mind-boggling. But Albion is still on annual scraps for safety.
Chairman-owner Tony Bloom made his millions from sports betting and poker. If he were to gamble up front with a lot of money, Brighton could hit the jackpot and finally climb the table.
Match Facts: Brighton v Leeds
BRIGHTON (3-4-1-2): Sanchez 6.5; White 7.5, Webster 7, Dunk 8; Veltman 6.5, Gross 7, Bissouma 7 (Mac Allister 90 + 2), Burn 6.5; Trossard 7.5 (Jahanbakhsh 81); Welbeck 8.5 (Moder 90), Maupay 5.
Subs not used: Steele, Connolly, Alzate, Izquierdo, Propper, Zeqiri.
Scorers: Gross 14 (pen), Welbeck 79.
Manager: Graham Potter 8.
LEEDS UNITED (4-1-4-1): Meslier 6.5; Ayling 6, Llorente 5 (Hernandez 79), Struijk 5, Alioski 5 (Poveda 46, 5); Koch 6.5; Dallas 6, Klich 6, Roberts 6, Harrison 5; Bamford 5 (Rodrigo 59,6).
Subs not used: Casilla, Berardi, Drameh, Shackleton, Jenkins, Huggins. Booked: Ayling.
Manager: Marcelo Bielsa 5.
Referee: Chris Kavanagh 7.