After finishing last season just two places off relegation, Brighton & Hove Albion may be seen as a surprise package in the early stages of this Premier League campaign.

Graham Potter's men are sitting in the top four after five games, only dropping points against Everton at the end of August. Yes, it's early days, but it's a start that many would not have predicted as they sit just a point away from the league's three joint-leaders; Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United.

But for those who have been keeping a close eye on the Seagulls since Potter arrived at the Amex Stadium from Swansea in May 2019, their form may not be so unexpected.

In our 'Playing Out From The Back' CPD course, tutor Jamie Godbold took an analytical look at Brighton and their style of play last season.

Although they won only nine of their 38 Premier League games, Brighton had the sixth most clean sheets, and their main problems may have been in front of goal. They had the seventh-most shots on goal across the season and missed 44 'big chances' more than 13 other teams.

A more potent strike force to take advantage of those opportunities may well have seen them end up a lot higher up the final standings. 

Potter has introduced a philosophy to Brighton, and their free-flowing style of play is admired by their fans, and neutrals alike.

In Potter's first year of managing in the Premier League, his side took more short goal kicks that stayed inside the area than any other team in the league.

A team that likes to play out from the back and an ideal subject for our recently-launched coaching course on the MiMentor Platform.

Find out more about the course - which is free for MiMentor Subscribers - here. (Subscribe during September and get a 50% discount with code 'FALL50' )

Potter's priority was to play the game positively and they adopted a quick and progressive possession-based style.

The technical ability of their players enabled them to play from the back, with a goalkeeper - Robert Sanchez, comfortable with the ball at his feet.

They utilised the full width of the pitch, stretching the opposition horizontally in an attempt to create crossing opportunities down the sides of the penalty area.

Yves Bissouma's role as a pivot in midfield provided an option ahead of the defence and beyond the oppositions first line, where they could create overloads, while their defenders were more than capable of carrying the ball forward and breaking lines.

The Seagulls also deployed quick, mobile forwards to stretch opponents vertically to create room for attacking midfielders in 'half spaces'.  

It made for an interesting recipe that, although they only just finished above the drop-zone, they were able to compete with the top sides in terms of passing, chances and shots.

So, perhaps, a season further along his journey with Brighton, we might see them begin to make even more of their qualities in possession.

If you'd like to learn more about how you can develop your team to adopt a 'Playing Out From The Back' style, check out our CPD course, which not only looks at Brighton's philosophy, but also the technical and tactical requirements of this attractive and effective way of playing, and shares a library of sessions that you can adapt for your team. 

Click here to enrolor subscribe today with code FALL50 and get access to this and all of our coach education content.

Seagulls flying high with Potter's principles
Brighton & Hove Albion may be seen as a surprise package in the early stages of this Premier League campaign, sitting in the top four, but is it really that unexpected?
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