BT Sport's Jules Breach gives Marc Cucurella verdict and why Shane Duffy still has a point to prove
BT Sport and Football Ramble podcast host and Brighton fan Jules Breach writes for the Brighton Indy and looks at the factors behind Albion's flying start to the new Premier League campaign
What a start to the season for the Seagulls! I can’t quite believe that as I write this we are fourth in the Premier League table, rubbing shoulders with Liverpool and Chelsea in a Champions League spot after our opening five matches.
It’s been our best ever start to a top flight campaign, and yes, I know it’s early days, but let’s enjoy it. It took us more than half a season last time round to get this many wins, so why shouldn’t we live in the moment and be excited about how it’s all begun?
So what’s it all down to, is it simply Graham Potter’s magnificent new beard – or is it those magical coaching powers he has? I reckon it’s a mix of both.
Apart from the Everton game – which is better forgotten – we’ve played some really lovely football so far. We’ve looked pretty solid defensively and despite not signing a new striker, we’ve been scoring those all important goals as well.
The 2-1 win against Leicester last weekend was huge. Taking all three points against Brendan Rodgers’ side – to follow up maximum points from our games against Burnley, Watford and Brentford – just made everyone take a bit of notice. It certainly proved that we’re not just capable of winning against the teams we’re expected to beat, but also beating one of last season’s top six as well.
I was at the Amex with my dad for the game and it was brilliant to see so many happy Albion fans back in the stadium. The atmosphere was brilliant and although we may have got a little fortunate with a couple of the offsides against Leicester, it’s about time we had some luck on our side.
I was really impressed with our new signing Marc Cucurella. When he skinned Ricardo Pereira in the first half it got the whole stadium up on their feet and he produced a man of the match performance on his home debut.
He will add real quality to our left hand side, he was putting plenty of flat crosses into the box which is ideal for the likes of Leo Trossard and Neal Maupay to take the ball into feet and try to create a goal scoring opportunity.
Yves Bissouma has been excellent all season, he is an absolute gem and continues to prove that he’s one of the best midfielders in the league.
The fact we kept hold of him in this summer transfer window could be crucial to us pushing for our highest finish since promotion.
And what a reintroduction to Albion life for Shane Duffy. I was at the Amex for the Getafe friendly pre season and he got a roaring reception from the fans. He’s slotted back into our defence like he never went away and he’s playing with so much passion.
He looks to me like a player trying to prove any possible doubters wrong, and he looks like he’s really happy to be back.
We’re even doing well in the League cup too. That win over Russell Martin’s Swansea in the third round means we get a rematch of our most recent Premier League game against Leicester in the next round.
Potter made 11 changes for that tie, with Aaron Connolly scoring a brace and Tariq Lamptey making his long awaited return – his first start for Brighton this calendar year. I had a big smile on my face when I saw his name on the team sheet and hopefully it won’t be too long until we see him feature in the league again too.
It’s been smiles all round for our women’s team as well who have made an unbelievable start to the WSL season: played two, won two, scored seven, conceded none!
Hope Powell’s side are the only team yet to concede a goal, and although we’re only two games in, being top of the table feels pretty nice.
Our excellent start coincides with our girls moving into a brand new state of the art training facility at the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre, which includes a brand new gym and medical centre, the top of the range facilities our team deserves.
The women’s game is still continuing to grow and still has a long way to go, so it makes me incredibly proud to support a club who are so heavily invested in supporting our women’s team.
Our club recognises the importance of nurturing female talent, and with more games being televised this year, let’s hope our Albion side can continue to inspire the next generation. Go on the Seagals!
So after a near perfect start for Brighton in the Premier League, are we bracing ourselves for a European tour?! I’m not so sure, but let’s enjoy it Seagulls fans.
Get yourselves to the Amex, enjoy every minute of being back in our wonderful stadium, and get behind Graham and the boys. Hope to see you there soon. Up the Albion!
Jules hosts BT Sport Score every Saturday and this season has been named in BT Sport’s brand new roster of European football presenters, hosting Europa League matches on Thursday nights, whilst still presenting pitch side on Champions League nights for CBS, hosting worldwide Premier League coverage, along with hosting the popular Football Ramble podcast.