With Brighton And Hove Albion‘s first Premier League game of the season to be held away at Watford just under two months away, a big question is what formation will The Seagulls decide to line-up with. Depicted below are the options Brighton are most likely to use:
Last season’s formation (4-4-1-1)
There is a very strong possibility that Brighton may stick to the same formation which brought them so much success last season, that is, the 4-4-1-1 formation. This is an option that worked so well with the Pascal Gross playing the number ten role, tucked behind the lone striker, which was usually Glenn Murray.
The only changes in this formation may be whether to play either new signing Florin Andone or club-record signing Jurgen Locadia up top instead of Murray to give The Seagulls more pace.
The other change could potentially see new signing Leon Balogun play centre-half alongside Shane Duffy or Lewis Dunk, however, it would be very harsh to drop Duffy or Dunk considering how impressive they were last season.
In a couple of games last season, manager Chris Hughton did try the 4-3-3 to give Brighton the extra man in midfield. This worked well and was particularly effective against the top six sides in order to try and thwart any attacking threat they could cause.
The 4-3-3 would give Hughton some tough decisions. The first is whether to bring Balogun in at centre-half or not. Then the biggest decision is who to play as the third man in midfield alongside Davy Propper and Dale Stephens? On the other hand, he could drop Gross back into the midfield, so as to still have a creative spark in the midfield.
However, if Hughton wanted a midfielder who would be a bit better defensively, then he may decide to go with Beram Kayal who came into the squad for a couple of games and did a great job, especially against Tottenham Hotspur at The Amex.
The other decision is again who to play upfront out of Murray, Andone or Locadia, but this may become more clear during the pre-season and if one of them really impresses, he could stand himself in good stead to play up top.
The other option, which Hughton resorted to in one game last season was the 3-5-2. This formation did not have the greatest start due to it being trialled against Chelsea at home and saw Brighton lose 4-0. If Hughton has to go in with this formation, then it would see Balogun come in to make up the back three with Dunk and Duffy. He could either use Ezequiel Schelotto, Bruno Saltor, Gaetan Bong or Markus Suttner as the wing-backs or use wingers as wing-backs and play Jose Izquierdo, Solly March or Anthony Knockaert.
Then he would have the three in midfield alignment alongside the wing-backs and this throws up the dilemma of choosing between Gross or Kayal again. The last decision is who to play upfront out of Andone, Murray or Locadia.
Whatever formation Hughton decides to go with, a huge hint of the preferred formation Brighton may use could be found out during the pre-season, which starts in just over a month.