'No regrets' Graham Potter defends his surprising starting XI for Arsenal loss

Brighton and Hove Albion head coach Graham Potter was disappointed after the 1-0 home loss to Arsenal but has no regrets on his team selection

Brighton and Hove Albion head head coach Graham Potter
Brighton and Hove Albion head head coach Graham Potter

Brighton were already missing the talents of Tariq Lamptey and Adam Lallana due to injury but Potter made a bold decision of six changes to the starting XI that drew with West Ham last Sunday.

The choice to bench striker Neal Maupay was the main surprise for Albion fans. Maupay scored winners against the Gunners twice last season and also netted during the 2-2 draw at the London Stadium.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

Danny Welbeck had a slight problem with his knee and was only deemed fit enough for the bench and defender Ben White was also dropped for the first time in the Premier League this season.

Davy Propper made his first start in central midfield against Arsenal and there were also rare outings for Alexis Mac Allister and Alireza Jahanbakhsh, who were tasked with leading the attack against Mikel Arteta's men.

Brighton performed quite well against Arsenal in the first half but as so often this season failed to take their chances during periods of dominance.

They once again paid a heavy price as second half substitute Alexandre Lacazette fired a 66th minute winner for Arsenal after fine approach play from the very impressive Bukayo Saka.

Did Potter get his team selection wrong? “Not at all," said the Albion head coach. "I think if the performance was not good in the first half, you could say it was disjointed and we lost a bit of cohesion.

“But I think you saw the performance, in the first half especially, was really good so the understanding was there.

“I thought the guys who came in, all of them did well.

“All of them have put themselves in a good position and that’s what we need going forward.”

Potter said: “Ali has been training well and pushing to play and so has Alexis (Mac Allister).

“It felt like a good opportunity to use those guys and then you can use Neal at the end of the game, which saves his workload as well.”

Jahanbakhsh missed a couple of chances in the first half but overall it was an encouraging return for the Iranian who has been hindered by groin issues this season.

“We work our socks off," said Jahanbakhsh. "You can see that our performances are really good. If you watch all of our games we create four or five very good chances every game but we need to turn them into goals – that’s what we need to work on.

“This moment isn’t going to last forever though, there will be a time when those chances go in and then you will see how much quality we have got. We know with what we have in terms of our ability we can turn this around.”

“We keep going."