HomeFootball NewsBrighton prepare for European adventures in new campaign

Brighton prepare for European adventures in new campaign

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Brighton and Hove Albion will look to push on again next season, after a record-breaking sixth place finish in the Premier League earned them a spot in the Europa League. For the first time in the club’s history, the Seagulls will play European football in 2023-24.

Manager Roberto De Zerbi came into the club in September 2022 after Graham Potter departed, and the Italian has excelled at the south coast outfit.

In De Zerbi’s first match in charge, his new team drew 3-3 away at Anfield and that was a sign of good things to come.

Their goalscorer that day was Leandro Trossard and his hat-trick at Liverpool was one of the reasons Arsenal paid £20 million (plus £7million in add ons) for his services in January. Brighton were able to let Trossard go and continue to get strong results, whilst playing excellent football under De Zerbi.

Playing for the first time in European competition next season, Albion will want to show their worth in the Europa League. With the strength that they have in their squad, they expect to be capable of going deep into the competition.

Enjoying their historic European adventure will not be their only objective, as they will try to make sure that securing a top-six spot wasn’t a one-off and will target another similar finishing position. De Zerbi’s side went well in the domestic competitions in 2022-23 as well, as they reached the FA Cup semi-finals and the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup.

Before pre-season begins for the club, they have already completed multiple signings. Midfielders James Milner and Mahmoud Dahoud have both joined as free agents whilst attacker João Pedro joins from Watford for a record transfer fee. If the club can hold onto players like Kaoru Mitoma, Evan Ferguson and Moisés Caicedo, then they have a strong nucleus to build their team around.

Teenager Ferguson certainly caught the eye of many Premier League fans last season. The Irishman scored 10 goals for the Seasiders and at just 18, he has so much more to give.

Brighton’s ‘project’ is attractive to players who are linked with the club, but will playing in Europe be one step too far for the current squad?

Whilst playing in the Europa League is a huge achievement, it may have come too soon for the team, as they might not have the squad depth to compete fiercely on a Thursday and also at the weekend. That heavy schedule will present problems such as additional injuries and fatigue in the squad, so it will now be a further test of De Zerbi’s management and the abilities of his backroom staff.

In their first match of the Premier League season, Brighton will host newly promoted Luton Town at the AMEX Stadium, in a game where the home side will be heavy favourites to win.

Then in their first away game of the season, De Zerbi’s side travel north to Molineux to take on Wolves. Back-to-back home games for the Seagulls follow, as they host West Ham and Newcastle United.

In their fifth game of the upcoming campaign, they travel to Old Trafford to face Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United. Brighton beat United home and away in the league last season, including a famous win at Old Trafford on the opening day, but they were eliminated from the FA Cup by the Red Devils on penalties in the semi-finals.

Their first head-to-head with Ten Hag’s men this season promises to be an intriguing affair.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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