The ingenious tactics Brighton use to terrify 'bigger teams'

Brighton and Hove Albion are not only on the cusp of the Champions League, but their season has included impressive victories over Liverpool, Man United, and now Arsenal. But what is it about Roberto De Zerbi's team that means they give the so-called "bigger clubs" such a tough time?

In FourFourTwo's latest YouTube video, Adam Clery delves deeper into how the tactics employed by the Italian ensures Brighton are able to play counter-attacking football while still having possession of the ball. 

Traditionally, teams wanting to play in the space behind opposition defences would sit deep, surrender possession and invite pressure onto themselves. Brighton have completely flipped this concept, though. 

With so-called "bigger teams" expected and more willing to press high in an attempt to win the ball back, Brighton manipulate this by retaining possession in their own defensive third.

They happily pass the ball around at the back, inviting teams such as Arsenal and Manchester United onto them, before springing a non-traditional counter-attack by breaking lines with their passes and exploiting the space in behind with pacey wingers such as Kaoru Mitoma, Solly March and Julio Enciso. 

What's key, though, is waiting for the opportune moment when a central midfielder, such as Alexis MacAllister, Moises Caicedo or Billy Gilmour are able to gain a couple of yards of space to turn on the ball and play it forwards into the front men, who are pinning back the defenders on the halfway line. 

To highlight this point, Lewis Dunk has had, surprisingly, the most touches of the ball in the Premier League this season. With over 3000 touches, the Brighton captain is comfortable being pressed and passing to his fellow defenders and central midfielders while opposition players put them under intense pressure.

Inevitably, this creates gaps across the pitch, playing right into Brighton's hands. Nowhere was this more evident than the torrid time Mitoma gave Ben White during Brighton's 3-0 win against Arsenal at the Emirates, with balls constantly being delivered over the Gunners full-back's head during the game. 

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Ryan Dabbs
Staff writer

Ryan is a staff writer for FourFourTwo, joining the team full-time in October 2022. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before eventually earning himself a position with FourFourTwo permanently. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer while a Trainee News Writer at Future. 

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