For Graham Potter, it’s been a relatively gentle introduction to life as a Premier League manager as matches with Watford, West Ham United and Southampton gave the new man an opportunity to find his feet.
His 3-4-3 formation and attacking football has impressed and excited Albion fans in equal measure. Without Lukasz Fabianski’s saves and Florin Andone’s ridiculous red card, we could even be sat on nine points out of nine going into Saturday’s game at the Etihad Stadium.
Ah yes, Manchester City away. This is where Potter will experience the reality of the top flight for the first time. That feeling of travelling to the top six knowing that the only way you’re getting something will be if you play to your very best and the opposition have an off day.
Under Chris Hughton, these sorts of games were ultimately pointless. We managed to score just three times in 10 games away at the big six and picked up a solitary point. The only reason to travel to the likes of Etihad and Anfield as a fan was because Manchester and Liverpool have such great pubs.
Will it be different under Potter? I’d certainly expect us to have more of a go. He isn’t the sort of manager who is going to stick 11 men behind the ball, no matter who the opposition are. He showed that last season at Swansea, when his former club were only a couple of controversial refereeing decisions away from derailing City’s FA Cup campaign.
Potter will want to play his football, although that obviously isn’t without risk. If he goes there and is as attacking as he has been so far, then it could result in a cricket score – a proper one and not an England first innings at Headingley.
It’s hard to know what will happen. Will it be 3-4-3 or 4-2-3-1? Force the issue or play on the counter? Aside from the refreshingly positive football, the most exciting thing about the Potter era so far has been that unpredictability.
If Brighton are to pull off the most unlikely of shocks, then Leandro Trossard could prove to be the key. He’s been the Albion’s best player in the two games he’s played so far, our own miniature version of his fellow Genk accademy product Kevin De Bruyne.
Whether Trossard starts will tell you something about how Potter is approaching things. He missed out away at Watford with Pascal Gross preferred due to his experience and defensive game. If Trossard is in the 11, then the Albion will be going for it.
But even then, I don’t think that will be enough. Ariana Grande was in Manchester this week and I reckon there is more chance of me finding and marrying her than there is of Brighton getting a result at the Etihad.
Still, at least the pubs are good.
*all odds are subject to change
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