BRIGHTON (A); THE PREVIEW

01/11/19

City head to the south coast for the first of three games that could define the mood for the rest of the season. Andrew Lawn chats to Ockley books Head Honcho David Hartrick for the lowdown on Potter’s seagulls

City head to the south coast for the first of three games that could define the mood for the rest of the season. Andrew Lawn chats to Ockley books Head Honcho David Hartrick for the lowdown on Potter’s seagulls.

Andy – Brighton’s season started so positively with a thumping win at Watford, before seemingly fading away into a re-run of last season, before Hugo dropped a cross and suddenly things are looking bright again, everyone happy at the Amex?

David – Very, to be honest.

I hate to repeat something I've said before in Brighton pieces but being interesting is a hugely underrated quality in football, and we just hadn't been for 18 months or so. In the Premier League where you look at the fixtures at our level and realise there's about a third you just can't win, the best you can hope for is to be exciting even in defeat.

Our Graham has taken what was already there, added some quality, looked beyond the first 15 to players who he felt could adapt better, and brought through some youth - and as a fan of Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League this is just about all you can ask for.

It's worth saying injuries completely ruined our start to the season, so no one was too upset as we were still playing really well. The Spurs game was no fluke, it had been coming for a few weeks.

Having experienced Chris Hughton's football ourselves and then adopted a model that is interesting, exciting and occasionally (Aston Villa) infuriating, I completely agree that the best you can hope for as a fan of Brighton/Norwich in the Premier League is to not be bored or boring.

Our last trip to the Amex saw us hammered 5-0, we'll enjoy this weekend much more though, won't we?

You can get at us because we're very open, and you play expansive stuff too, so it feels like it should be a good game (cue nil-nil draw) but we're tough to beat now instead of just being tough to break down.

Under Hughters the aim was not to lose the game, don't concede. Nowadays it's very different, it's to try to win the game and go for it as proved by defenders bombing on like you wouldn't believe in the last 10 minutes against Everton last weekend. And we're a genuine goal threat now instead of just looking to nick one here or there.

It feels like a game where you're going to have to outscore us and these days that might mean scoring two or three as a minimum where once it meant sneaking a 1-0. Tall order when you're going to spend a lot of the game without the ball because we knock it about at home like we're Barcelona now. This season we've been called the Poundland Manchester City in one article, and Tesco Value Tiki-Taka in another - leave an overlap at your peril...

People said the same thing about Bournemouth and we duly turned up there and almost nothing happened, so we came home again with our first clean sheet and first away point.

No holds barred, all out you attack, we attack, was our bread and butter last season and with Teemu due a goal, I quite fancy us to nick a valuable win. We don't really care for defending though, so if you want goals, we'll give you chances, but you will have to beat Mr Timonthy Krul, goalkeeping extraordinaire.

As an outsider, what have you made to City's top-flight return so far?

Impressive. I'm a huge advocate that there's more than one way to win a football game but for too long Premier League survival seemed to be about not losing. We've lost Huddersfield Town, Middlesborough, Hull and others in recent seasons mainly down to them not laying a glove on their opponents and playing safety first in every situation.

I think the Premier League is not as good as it was, and it's not as spread beyond the top six as many would have you believe, there are plenty of points to go for if you're brave enough and Norwich seem to want to roll the dice.

There are games you can't win in this league, but there are others that are there if you go for it. Farke's brave, I hope (like Chris Wilder) it takes you fair enough to stay up to be honest

I agree. If you try and shut up shop you'll likely lose 1-0. If you have a go you'll occasionally lose 5-1 but you'll also win a few and have some fun while you're at it.

Back to Brighton, who are the stars? Aaron Mooy from the aforementioned Huddersfield always impresses me

He's been great since coming in, silly red card aside, but Pascal Gross is the man that knits it all together and seems to love playing under Our Graham.

You all know Aaron Connelly now, and Norwich fans will remember Maupay, but Leandro Trossard is a superstar in the making. We've yet to see him fully fit and on a run of games and yet he feels like a future £40m player already. Is he better than Leo Messi? Not for me to say, but yes, yes he is.

Connelly seemed to come from absolutely nowhere. Admittedly my knowledge of Brighton's squad is limited, but I'd never heard his name pre-Spurs game. Has he been in the pipeline a while?

Yes, we've all be tapping our nose about him for a while, he's raw but the talent is undeniable. We've got a few more coming along too but we're not talking about them yet so keep that a secret will you...

Absolutely. Nobody reads these, they're really just for me. Let's finish on a very specific prediction; scorers, minutes, method - the whole hog...

Apologies but I'm going 2-0 to us. The first a towering Lewis Dunk header from a first half corner won by a sweeping move from our own penalty area, and the second a Trossard special ten minutes from time leaving three defenders in his wake.

Apologies accepted. Teemu is due a goal and Emi Buendia will shortly burst into life, so with those two optimistic opinions converted into indisputable facts, I'll go 3-2 Norwich, allowing you your goals described above. I'm very good like that.

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