Brighton 1-1 West Ham
Goals: Leandro Trossard (£6.0m) | Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez (£6.0m)
Assists: Manuel Lanzini (£6.5m)
Bonus Points: Lanzini x3, Chicharito x2, Lewis Dunk (£4.5m), Pascal Groß (£6.5m)
Leandro Trossard (£6.0m) was the standout performer for Brighton as they drew 1-1 with West Ham on Saturday.
The Belgian midfielder rewarded patience shown in him by owners who disappointed by his no-show in Gameweek 1 with a debut goal.
Manager Graham Potter had opted not to throw him, or any new signings, into a starting role away at Watford, but had no issues doing so at home to West Ham.
As we saw in pre-season, Trossard was deployed on the left side of striker Glenn Murray (£6.0m) in a 3-4-3 formation, Jurgen Locadia (£5.5m) dropping to the bench and Pascal Groß (£6.5m) occupying the left-wing slot.
Accordingly, he emerged from Saturday’s match with seven points and looks highly unlikely to lose his place for the Gameweek 3 visit of Southampton to the Amex Stadium.
“He had a really good season. They were champions over there and he is a hungry guy who wants to take that next step. From the Belgian League to the Premier League is, of course, a step, but he has got that quality as you can see. Our job is to help him make that transition. Of course, it is nice for us to attract these guys.” – Graham Potter
We had expected Trossard to mainly offer creative potential this season but, based on this performance, the former Genk man is more about the goal threat than anything else.
No Brighton player looked more dangerous going forward than Trossard, who could have scored a hat-trick in different circumstances.
He had a first-half goal ruled out for offside by the Video Assistant Referee and screwed one chance over the bar before getting his hands on some FPL attacking points.
A high ball was lofted up to Murray who did well to hold it up before being tackled. Trossard picked up the scraps and found himself the space to shoot from the edge of the box, rifling into the bottom corner of Lukasz Fabianski‘s (£5.0m) net.
It must be said that Trossard did well to continue asking questions of West Ham’s defence after the emotional rollercoaster of his disallowed first-half goal.
Centre-back Dan Burn (£4.5m) crossed the ball back across the box in the second phase of a free-kick, for Trossard to drill a volley into the back of the net.
However, it was not until after Brighton had celebrated the incredible finish that referee Anthony Taylor disallowed it for an offside call against Burn, spotted by VAR.
The introduction of this technology into the Premier League has somewhat altered the ebb and flow of matches, with it being easy for disappointment to creep in having celebrated a goal.
However, Potter credited Trossard after the game with having the determination to not let that bother him.
“It (VAR disallowing goals) changes the atmosphere in the stadium a little bit. It goes from euphoria to almost disappointment but that is something we all have to deal with. I thought the players did it really well.” – Graham Potter
“It’s disappointing especially if you score a nice goal like that but you have to keep on going because it is a football game and you know that VAR is there. If you don’t stand up and it goes to your head, it’s not easy to keep on going so that is what you need to do.” – Leandro Trossard
Despite Trossard taking some set pieces in pre-season, it looks as if Groß is the main man for these once again this season.
However, the German midfielder continues to have his minutes managed, replaced by Neal Maupay (£6.0m) in the 67th minute and with Trossard offering more goal threat for £0.5m cheaper, he certainly seems the better option.
With Groß off the pitch for some of the second half, Solly March (£5.0m) and Aaron Mooy (£5.0m) also had a hand in corners and free-kicks.
For the second match in a row, Murray led the Brighton attack with Maupay only coming on as a second-half substitute.
However, Murray is still yet to complete 90 minutes this season. After managing 63 against Watford, he was replaced by Florin Andone (£5.0m) in the 73rd minute on Saturday.
Brighton appear to have a new set-piece target this season in centre-back Burn.
The 27-year-old carried plenty of threat from dead-ball situations, heading over from an early Groß free-kick and also providing the assist for Trossard’s disallowed goal.
However, placing trust in Brighton defence at this early stage under Potter’s management might be hard to justify.
Yes, the Seagulls kept a clean sheet away at Watford in Gameweek 1, but it was widely reported that the Hornets were dreadful and they did not create a single big chance for Brighton to deal with.
West Ham did not offer too much going forward either but still managed to break through and find the back of the net at the Amex Stadium.
In the second half, all it took was a well-timed Manuel Lanzini (£6.5m) pass from midfield to unleash Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez (£6.0m), who had beaten the offside trap.
The Mexcian forward only had to slot the ball underneath Mat Ryan (£4.5m) to hand West Ham a, probably, undeserved lead in the 61st minute.
“We know that Hernandez is a box player. When he has the option he normally scores.” – Manuel Pellegrini
At Brighton, West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini made five changes to the side that was thrashed 5-0 by Manchester City in Gameweek 1.
Two of these were forced as both Felipe Anderson (£7.0m) and Sébastien Haller (£7.5m) missed out with injuries, although Pellegrini is positive about whether or not they will return for the Gameweek 3 trip to Watford.
“I hope that both of them will be back next week. Sebastien Haller and Felipe Anderson.” – Manuel Pellegrini
Chicharito came in for Haller, while Pablo Fornals (£6.5m) was handed his first West Ham start in the place of Anderson. As we suggested as a possibility in our pre-season Scout Report, the Spaniard struggled to compete with his new colleagues for creativity.
Meanwhile, Arthur Masuaku (£4.5m) took Aaron Creswell‘s (£5.0m) place at left-back and performed admirably, registering five tackles, two clearances, one interception and winning the ball back for West Ham’s goal.
Elsewhere Fabian Balbuena (£4.5m), an ever-present when fit last season, was dropped to the bench to allow Angelo Ogbonna (£4.5m) to start alongside Issa Diop (£4.5m).
The final change saw Robert Snodgrass (£5.5m) come in for Michail Antonio (£7.0m) as West Ham’s attacking midfield remains rather unsettled at this early stage of the season.
“We also have a lot of new players that arrived, players that are coming back from a long injury so I think it was useful not to lose a second game in a row. Maybe the first game we need to fix all the new players in their correct position.” – Manuel Pellegrini
Jack Wilshere (£5.0m) came in for some criticism from the local press for a poor display at Brighton.
The former Arsenal midfielder reportedly left Declan Rice (£5.0m) exposed at multiple points before being replaced by Antonio at half-time, although it seems his withdrawal was somewhat influenced by his fitness.
“Jack is like Carlos Sanchez, [Andriy] Yarmolenko and Manuel Lanzini – who played a lot of games in the last part of last season – he needs time, of course. He hasn’t played 90 minutes in a long time, so in every game and every minute he has he will be improving.”
The Eye Test
Ian Davey: “I’m not quite sure how Brighton didn’t win that match.
“Trossard is a STAR in the making.
“He had a goal ruled out by VAR and missed a big chance before finally scoring.
“It turns out he’s not on set pieces but was our main goal threat.
“There’s no chance he doesn’t start next week.
“Our defence still isn’t great and there are probably better £4.5 options out there, even if Montoya is playing at right wing-back.
“Despite getting into some good positions, he lacked quality in the final third which doesn’t scream FPL returns.
“March at left wing-back is also a no-go, in my opinion, given he is a midfielder in the game.
“I’d also avoid our forwards for now. Murray didn’t do much and doesn’t look like he can play for more than 70 minutes.
“That said, Brighton are, on the whole, much more attacking than they were under Hughton.”
Brighton and Hove Albion XI (3-4-3): Ryan; Burn, Dunk, Duffy; March, D Stephens, Pröpper, Montoya; Trossard (Mooy 85′), Murray (Andone 74′), Groß (Maupay 67′).
West Ham United XI (4-1-4-1): Fabianski; Masuaku, Ogbonna, Diop, Fredericks; Rice; Fornals (Yarmolenko 77′), Lanzini, Wilshere (Antonio 45′), Snodgrass; Chicharito (C Sánchez 83′).