Brighton and Hove Albion are poised to embark on another thrilling season as they prepare for their first European adventure following a remarkable sixth-place finish in the Premier League, securing them a spot in the Europa League for the 2023-24 campaign.
Roberto De Zerbi, who took charge of the club in September 2022 following Graham Potter’s departure, has made an indelible impact on the south coast club. In his debut match at the helm, his team displayed immense promise by securing a memorable 3-3 draw against Liverpool at Anfield.
Leandro Trossard, the goal-scorer in that captivating encounter, showcased his talent with a hat-trick, prompting Arsenal to acquire his services for a significant fee of £20 million (plus £7 million in add-ons) in January. Brighton, however, continued to thrive under De Zerbi’s leadership, delivering strong results while playing an attractive brand of football.
With their inaugural participation in European competition on the horizon, Albion aims to prove their mettle in the Europa League. Bolstered by the strength of their squad, they are confident in their ability to make a deep run in the tournament.
While relishing their historic European journey, their ambitions extend beyond that. Brighton strives to establish themselves as a consistent top-six contender, building upon their impressive finish from the previous season. Additionally, De Zerbi’s side performed admirably in domestic competitions, reaching the FA Cup semi-finals and the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup during the 2022-23 campaign.
Prior to the commencement of pre-season preparations, Brighton has already secured several signings. Midfielders James Milner and Mahmoud Dahoud have joined as free agents, while the club has broken its transfer record to acquire forward João Pedro from Watford. Retaining promising players like Kaoru Mitoma, Evan Ferguson, and Moisés Caicedo will provide a strong foundation for the team moving forward.
Teenager Evan Ferguson garnered significant attention from Premier League fans last season with his impressive tally of 10 goals for the Seasiders. At just 18 years old, he possesses immense potential and room for growth.
Brighton’s ambitious project continues to attract talented players, but competing in Europe may present a significant challenge for the current squad. The demanding Europa League schedule, involving matches on Thursdays and domestic fixtures on weekends, may stretch their squad depth and lead to additional injuries and fatigue. It will be a true test of De Zerbi’s managerial acumen and the capabilities of his backroom staff to navigate these challenges successfully.
The new Premier League season kicks off for Brighton with a home fixture against newly promoted Luton Town at the AMEX Stadium, where the Seagulls will be heavily favored to secure victory. They then travel to Molineux to face Wolves in their first away game, followed by back-to-back home matches against West Ham and Newcastle United.
In their fifth game of the season, they face Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United at Old Trafford. Brighton emerged triumphant in both league encounters against United last season, including a memorable victory at Old Trafford on the opening day. However, their FA Cup journey was halted by the Red Devils in the semi-finals, with United advancing on penalties.
Their first clash with Ten Hag’s men in the upcoming season promises to be a compelling encounter, full of intrigue and excitement.