Brighton on the right path with Graham Potter despite draw at Crystal Palace

It's likely both Brighton and Hove Albion and Crystal Palace will finish around midtable in the Premier League this season.

Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 2:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 9:13 pm
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson and Brighton and Hove Albion head coach in discussion during the 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park

They played out a 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park on Monday night as Albion dominated most of the play before being hit by a Wilfried Zaha equaliser.

A midtable finish would be acceptable for both sets of fans but the way they achieve it on the pitch will be entirely different.

Roy Hodgson is a popular figure at Palace and his stout and resolute team, sprinkled with touch of star quality in attack, will frustrate the heck out of teams and then strike with swift counter attacks.

Potter's team however play a different way. Albion's possession at Selhurst Park was up near 70 per cent as a fluid midfield of Davy Propper, Yves Bissouma, Aaron Mooy and Pascal Gross took control.

The intention, more often than not, was to move the ball quickly, find the gaps and look to get to the attacking areas where Neal Maupay and Leandro Trossard can get to work.

Palace were hampered by injuries on Monday and it was clear their tactic was to remain solid and give the ball to Zaha at any opportunity. You can't deny it's an effective strategy and Hodgson is great at what he does but it would be a stretch to say the style is exciting.

It must also be slightly boring for the players too. Imagine turning up to training each day and it's a case of, "right lads, it's more drills on how to be infuriatingly rigid today."

Albion players under Potter's progressive style seem to enjoy their football and enjoy learning new techniques and tactics. They were excellent for 70 minutes at Selhurst Park and the only criticism was that they should have scored more than the one goal from Maupay.

Zaha, who was the footballing equivalent of Deontay Wilder on Monday night, remained a constant menacing threat. You knew the big right hand was going to land to at some point, it's just a case of when and how much damage.

It did land flush on the 76th minute and it cost Albion two points but the reaction from supporters after the match was largely positive, and it should be too.

You could say that Steven Alzate should have been brought on earlier for a tiring Bissouma - who, by the way, played very well in central midfield alongside Propper.

Or complain that Brighton still lack that clinical edge when they are on top - as they did against West Ham, Newcastle, Burnley and Aston Villa. However after 17 matches of 'Potter-ball', the progress has been clear to see.

At the start of the season the defence looked extremely jittery when playing out from the back. You could tell it was forced upon them and every instinct was probably telling them to launch it up-field or bang a hopeful ball into the channel.

Now, after much work on the training ground, the transition looks pretty smooth. It is high-risk and it still might cost them at times but confidence in this style is building and when it works, it looks impressive.

Come May, Palace and Albion will not be a million miles apart in the table but Brighton fans are clear on which team they would rather spend their time and money watching each week.