Brighton 0-2 Southampton
Goals: Moussa Djenepo (£5.4m), Nathan Redmond (£6.4m)
Assists: Danny Ings (£6.0m), Sofiane Boufal (£5.5m)
Red cards: Florin Andone (£5.0m)
Bonus Points: Jannik Vestergaard x3 (£5.0m), Redmond x2, Jan Bednarek x1 (£4.5m)
Brighton’s offensive players were arguably unfortunate not to get any attacking returns in their 2-0 defeat to Southampton on Saturday afternoon.
After starting the game brightly, the Seagulls were dealt a serious blow as Florin Andone (£5.0m) was sent off for a bad tackle on Yan Valery (£5.0m).
The Romanian forward was initially a beneficiary of ‘Graham Potter Roulette’ as the Brighton manager made two changes to his attacking front-three following last week’s draw with West Ham.
Andone replaced Glenn Murray (£6.4m) in the starting line-up while Neal Maupay (£6.0m) came in for Pascal Groß (£6.5m). The only member of the Gameweek 2 front-line to keep his place was Leandro Trossard (£6.0m).
Andone will now be missing for at least the next two Premier League matches as he was handed a three-match ban for violent conduct. This suspension also includes the EFL Cup clash with Bristol Rovers on Tuesday night.
Given the nature of the tackle, this suspension could increase in length so it is worth just keeping an eye on what happens with it.
“It’s a straight red when you watch it back. It was on the other side of the pitch from me. At ground level, you can’t see it totally but you always worry when there is a forward trying to go over the top of the ball to protect the ball but at the same time there is a defender’s leg there. We can’t defend that type of challenge. Florin didn’t mean to do it but still, it’s not a good challenge. Apologies to Southampton. Luckily they didn’t get anybody injured.” – Graham Potter
“I’m very happy that Jan Valery is not injured… it looked horrible.” – Ralph Hasenhüttl
Andone being missing for the next few matches could make life a little easier for those invested in the Brighton attack as it will reduce competition for places during that time.
However, Andone’s red card still harmed the Seagulls’ attacking potential against Southampton on Saturday.
After the sending off, Potter opted not to make any changes to his side, leaving them to operate in a 3-4-2 with Maupay and Trossard up-front.
This made for a mixed afternoon for the pair, with the former Brentford forward offering the most threat, while the diminutive Trossard struggled to match his Gameweek 2 presence in front of goal as he was often outnumbered by Southampton’s defence.
However, the absence of Groß for the first 78 minutes allowed Trossard to have a hand in set pieces and helped him display his creativity.
Brighton were certainly the dominant side in the 20 minutes before Andone’s sending off, without creating too many clearcut opportunities and, surprisingly, they retained control of the game even after the dismissal, Southampton happy to sit back and soak up the pressure.
“It was a little bit easier but even then I think we (could have) played much better in possession, much calmer. To find the right balance of playing forward or staying in possession is not so easy in that moment, especially if you are no points after two games and need a win. It was important that we scored twice, two very good goals.” – Ralph Hasenhüttl
However, with that man disadvantage in the final third, the Seagulls struggled to ask any serious questions of the Southampton defence.
Instead, they were often at risk of the Saints’ counter-attacks, which proved to be the difference on Saturday afternoon.
Nathan Redmond (£6.4m) was at the forefront of these, using his pace to stretch the defence and having an effort in the 35th minute which fizzed past Mat Ryan‘s (£4.5m) post.
These well-timed forays into Brighton territory paid off for Southampton in the second half when substitute Moussa Djenepo (£5.4m) found the back of the net.
After Danny Ings (£6.0m) had set him up, the new signing curled a spectacular effort into the top corner.
“I think Moussa showed against Liverpool when he was coming in for Ryan Bertrand, that he can bring a lot of action on the left side with his right foot with his dribbling inside. It’s hard to catch. His work without the ball we have to develop but with the ball, he gives us new power. The fans will love him (Djenepo) immediately. He must learn a lot, but I like this guy – he’s very positive. After dinner, he had to sing for the team and he did it in an interesting way. His scoring is better than his singing!” – Ralph Hasenhüttl
Even after going behind, Brighton maintained a strong final-third presence, which bodes well moving forward when they face favourable opposition with all 11 men on the pitch.
However, Southampton continued to look dangerous on the counter with Ings forcing a sliding block from Lewis Dunk (£4.6m) and Redmond racing through the middle and shooting just wide.
“Ings had a very good impact in the last game. I think he came on and was a very good sub last week and showed immediately that he was in the game. I think he was fit and I hope he can make a very good game today.” – Ralph Hasenhüttl
Redmond finally got a deserved goal late in the game after substitute Sofiane Boufal (£5.5m) got behind the Brighton defence and put a pass on a plate for him at the back-post.
“Yeah (Boufal is lethal). That’s the reason why, as a substitute, he is in the moment brilliant for us. Also against Burnley, he showed he can have a good impact in a game. I’m very happy for him because he worked very good this week. I was thinking of maybe bringing him in from the beginning but I think as a substitute today it was the right decision.”
Brighton had one last chance to find the net but could not convert. Substitute Jurgen Locadia (£5.4m) found himself on the end of a Murray knock-down from a Groß corner but blasted it onto the post from inside the six-yard box.
That miss led to Southampton’s first clean sheet of the campaign. As much as Brighton’s problems contributed to the shut-out, the Saints’ backline still put in an impressive shift in extenuating circumstances.
The local press were surprised to see Ralph Hasenhüttl go for a four-man defence away from home, especially against a side that plays 3-4-3. They had expected the Southampton man to match them up, but he had other plans.
“(I went for a back-four) Because you have one man more to give them pressure. This is a team that likes to play football a lot and they are very self-confident. I think also in the first half we had a few very good ball-wins. I think they didn’t play that much like against the other teams because they know about our pressing.” – Ralph Hasenhüttl
However, this four-man defence was still patched up in a sense, following an injury to left-back Ryan Bertrand (£5.0m).
“I think it was yesterday after the session that (Bertrand) had a little problem with his ankle.” – Ralph Hasenhüttl
Replacing the former Chelsea man was debutant Kevin Danso (£4.5m), who shifted out to full-back from his favoured position of centre-back in his first-ever Premier League appearance for Southampton.
“The decision was a brave one, I think. It’s not easy for him. It’s not easy to play another position that you have seldom played before with a right foot on the left. But I needed a little bit more stability on this side to play with a back four and I think he did a good job today. Won a lot of duels.” – Ralph Hasenhüttl
The Eye Test
Ian Davey, Brighton fan:
“After seeing the line-up I was hopeful of being able to announce Andone as a cheap forward option, but his terrible challenge ruined that and also ended the chance for any serious FPL returns for Seagulls players on Saturday.
“Before the red card, Maupay played wide-right in a 3-4-3 and he and Trossard looked sharp on the break.
“However it does mean Maupay is playing slightly reverse-OOP in this system, so not great from an FPL-perspective.
“Trossard again looked the most likely to make something happen, and with Groß off the field, he took the majority of our set-pieces.
“If he had made a couple of different decisions it would have led to shooting opportunities, but on the whole, it was hard to judge Brighton’s longer-term attacking potential with 10 men.
“Defensively it was always going to be tough with the man disadvantage but there were a couple of warning signs even before the sending off.
“Clean sheets do not look forthcoming, and I’m still not convinced of Montoya’s attacking output so would advise against Brighton defenders. Especially with a trip to the Etihad next week!”
Brighton XI: Ryan; Burn, Dunk, Duffy; March (Locadia 68′), D Stephens (Groß 78′), Pröpper, Montoya; Trossard, Andone, Maupay (Murray 74′).
Southampton XI: Gunn; Danso, Vestergaard, Bednarek, Valery (Djenepo 53′); Ward-Prowse, Højbjerg, Romeu; Redmond, Ings (Armstrong 84′); Adams (Boufal 80′).