BT Sport's Jules Breach gives Yves Bissouma verdict ahead of Arsenal plus Tammy Abraham and Ivan Toney hint
BT Sport, Football Ramble presenter and avid Brighton fan Jules Breach has her say on a remarkable season for Brighton and Hove Albion
I think it’s fair to say we will never see another season like this one. Watching matches with fake crowd noise on the telly, face coverings and interviews on Zoom, and an eerily quiet Amex, it’s been different to say the least.
On the pitch, as is always the case with Brighton and Hove Albion, there have been plenty of ups and downs. But now we’re nearly at the finish line, I think we should all be celebrating the Seagulls staying up for another season, making it a fifth consecutive campaign in the Premier League for the first time ever, and doing all of that in the strangest year ever.
Achieving that without any fans in the stadium for the large majority of this campaign will have been even more difficult for the players than we can begin to imagine.
The difference the home support makes was evident in the 3-2 comeback over the Premier League champions on Tuesday. I was one of the lucky 8,000 at the Amex, and to see the seats filled with happy faces, hear the cheering of every block, tackle and shot, to have a Piglet’s Pantry pie and see friends again, was just a wonderful thing!
I have no doubt that home support spurred the boys on to victory, and you could see what it meant to Graham Potter and the team at the final whistle.
That win over Man City, in front of our fans was one of the highlights of the season for me. Along with impressive back to back wins over Tottenham and Liverpool, as well as doing the double over Leeds and Newcastle, there have been some real highs.
The most frustrating match of the season award still goes to the Manchester United defeat, to break a Premier League record for hitting the post the most times in a game as well as losing out after the final whistle was blown to a penalty is still as annoying now as it was in September.
That match, along with both against Palace are quicker forgotten than spoken of again!
So let’s focus on the highs...Yves Bissouma, what a player he’s been! You know you’ve got a real gem on your hands when all the pundits I work with ask me ‘does he play this well every week?’
Yes is the answer. Mr consistent for Brighton this season. He never seems to have an off day, and him and Lallana in the centre of the pitch have combined so well and been a joy to watch.
Leandro Trossard has improved in all areas too this season, he got his call up for Belgium, and if he can continue to grow in confidence, next season he will hopefully add even more goals and assists to his name, which is what the team really need to focus on.
Defensively, they have been pretty solid, conceding 44 goals which is the best record of any side in the bottom half of the table, and particularly in the second half of the season are right up there in terms of fewest goals conceded from open play.
What a year for Robert Sanchez, I bet he didn’t see that coming, I certainly didn’t! From being on loan at Rochdale to starting Premier League games for the Albion, he’s settled in well and been a decent replacement for Maty Ryan.
We’ve shown plenty of versatility with Ben White playing in both midfield and in the back line, Webster improving more and more, Dunk being immense as always, as well as chipping in with some vital goals, and a whole range of full backs deployed throughout the campaign.
It’s scoring those crucial goals that will need to be improved on if we are to kick on next year and hopefully not have as much of a nervy end to the season.
Brighton’s XG has been the most talked about all campaign, and it’s frustrating as we all know how much potential this side has, and I don’t think it would be too optimistic to say that you can see a top, clinical, proven Premier League striker scoring 20 plus goals in this side.
Who that striker could be, is the question! Could Brighton get Tammy Abraham on loan? He seems out of favour at Chelsea but is far too talented, and with a huge future ahead of him to sit on their bench not getting vital minutes.
Or will Brighton look at another top Championship striker like we’ve done before with Neal Maupay? If Brentford fail to get promoted again, Ivan Toney could be a man Brighton consider.
Let’s watch this space, there is so much to look forward to with Graham Potter coaching this team. I have faith that what he’s building is so exciting.
What he’s done with the team since he took over, the improvement to players, the style of football, it’s been a joy to watch.
It was actually refreshing to see his emotions at the end of the Man City win, that passion is what we want to see as fans. I just wish everyone would stop tipping him up for the Spurs job!
We want him to stay, whether it’s a tracksuit or a scarf and coat day, I know I’ll be an excited fan to see us start the 2021/22 campaign with Potter in charge as it certainly feels that there’s a bright future ahead, hopefully with a full Amex stadium in August.