Graham Potter’s Brighton have been one of the most tactically fluid sides in the Premier League two seasons in a row now. They’ve been able to transcend and operate in several different formations, most notably the 3-4-2-1/3-4-3 formation.
The formation allows Brighton to defend with a 5-4-1 or 5-2-3 structure, with wing-backs highly important to their attack going the other way.
Due to their attacking shape of 3-2-5, it is more frequently a 3-4-3 shape despite what some might think, with the wingers linking up alongside the striker rather than remaining detached.
Brighton have been one of the most exciting sides to watch since the appointment of Graham. Potter, despite not having a star-studded team, has managed to get his side playing with a lot of fluidity whilst employing a highly technically demanding system and structure.
Coming to the attacking side of things, Brighton can be seen to operate in a 3-2-3-2 formation. The wing-backs move higher up the pitch, allowing the midfielders to overload the middle of the pitch, outnumbering their opponents.
Another added advantage of this midfield overload is that it opens up the possibility of building up the play, instead of using a more direct Route One tactic.
Regarding the two forwards, Potter expects continuous pressing and aggression on the ball from them. Luckily for him, Neal Maupay is perfectly suited to this role. His close control in and around the box is quality and the blind-sided runs he makes are superb.
Combine this with strength and holding up, and you have a brilliant striker on your hands! Another interesting aspect of this system is when the 3-2-3-2 changes into a 3-2-3-1-1, with one of the strikers dropping deep to open up space behind.
This space is then exploited by the wing-backs and the frontman, while the midfielders make their way into the box to attack any crosses or cutbacks. In footballing terms, this would be called an “attacking overload.”
Brighton also have started this campaign strongly as they sit 6th after 7 games which is by no means a fluke given the way they’ve been playing, attacking teams without fear and pressing relentlessly.
Yesterday was another game that showcased the brilliance of Graham Potter and his side as they hosted Arsenal. Though the game ended in a goalless draw, it could be argued Potter and his side were the better side in large spells of the game.
Potter started the game brightly, pressing superbly from the front and making sure Arsenal did not have the space and time to play out from the back with ease.
This saw Potter’s men win the ball high up the pitch causing the Arsenal backline all sorts of problems on the evening.
Considering Potter was without midfield veteran Bissouma, striker Danny Welbeck, and first choice Centre back Webster who’s been impressive this season, it didn’t seem to restrict the team and they went about the game sticking to their game plan and made sure Arsenal couldn’t play.
The technical security of the likes of Lallana, Trossard, Dunk meant even when Arsenal tried to press them, they found a way to play through the Arsenal press with ease in most phases aided by the structure and flexible positioning Potter has managed to instill in his side.
It was an impressive showing by Brighton throughout the game against Arsenal as they kept up the intensity till the end. Potter’s side will only get better as the season wears on and would pose a threat to many teams this season.
It’ll be interesting to see how far they can go this season and where they finish in the long run.
Potter has done a tremendous job with this Brighton side and has established himself as one of the finest tacticians in the League. It won’t be long before a top team comes knocking on the door of the English manager.