Burnley vs Brighton analysis: How Graham Potter tweaked the tactics and a lesson for Enock Mwepu

Adam Lallana, Jakub Moder and Alexis Mac Allister came on and changed the game for Albion on the opening weekend of the season

Sunday, 15th August 2021, 9:33 am
Updated Sunday, 15th August 2021, 9:34 am
Brighton celebrate victory at Turf Moor

Brighton ran out 2-1 winners at Burnley on the opening day of the Premier League season thanks to three inspired substitutions from Graham Potter.

The Albion went 1-0 down inside the opening two minutes at Turf Moor after James Tarkowski brushed aside Neal Maupay to head home from a corner.

On Burnley's opener, Potter said: "It looked a push [by James Tarkowski on Neal Maupay], you can see clearly that it is but if the referee doesn't give it, he doesn't give it."

However, Alan Shearer, speaking on on Match of the Day, was adamant it was not a foul as Maupay was trying to 'block Tarkowski instead of playing the ball'.

The Seagulls were slow and sluggish in the first half and were frustrated by a well-drilled and tenacious Burnley, who missed a fair share of good chances.

Potter faced his first problem of the season: how to break down this bullish Sean Dyche team?

Potter subbed off Enock Mwepu at half-time for Adam Lallana and changed from a 4-1-4-1 formation to a more familiar 3-5-2 set up.

By no means did Mwepu play bad, but it was a tough start to life in the Premier League for the Zambian.

Brighton's new number 12 made positive runs in behind, constantly looking to exploit the space, stretch the play and get past Maupay.

Unfortunately for Mwepu, he received little to no service on his debut.

When the former Red Bull Salzburg midfielder did get service over the top, he was muscled out of it by the powerhouse centre back pairing of Ben Mee and James Tarkowski. Welcome to England, Enock.

The 23-year-old's debut was cut shorter than he might have wanted but the results which followed justified Potter's tinkering.

Lallana came on and changed the game. The experienced Englishman was the link from defence to attack which was missing in the first half.

Brighton could now start to play their usual game of playing out from the back, with Lallana turning, playing forward and getting Brighton on the front foot.

Albion were now dominating... but could they make it count? They did thanks to two more super subs.

The first being Moder, who came on and made an instant impact.

Bissouma picked the ball up on the half way line and played a lovely through ball to the Polish midfielder who, marauding into the Burnley box from the right-wing-back position, drilled a low-cross into the danger zone which led to Maupay tapping in from a few yards out (73').

Lots of positives from this goal: Brighton's steeliness to get themselves back into the game against tough opposition; Bissouma doing what he does and getting the assist before the assist; Moder continuing to shine in a blue shirt; and Maupay getting off the mark on the first day.

Within an instant, Turf Moor went even quieter as ANOTHER inspired substitution paid dividends for Potter.

Welcome to the new Premier League season, Alexis Mac Allister. The Argentinian's first touch of the game saw him slot home Pascal Gross' low-cross into the box (78'). A carbon copy of the first goal.

Positives from this goal: Brighton's assist king from last season, Gross, opened his tally; Mac Allister got a confidence boost; Brighton score two goals in one game, which was rare last season; good approach play was finished off; and it's a spirited comeback from the lads.

Brighton turned the game on its head.

Potter may have got it wrong in the first half - or Burnley may have just got it very right - but the Albion boss was switched on enough to make the game-changing substitutions and change formation.

Albion showed their mettle in the final stages. They didn't wilt like they have done in previous seasons. They held on and secured all three points.

This was a strong second half performance thanks to inspired substitutions, who all stepped up to the mark and staked their claim for a start next week.