By Craig Kemp
13th May 2019
Despite steering Brighton to a second successive season of Premier League survival, Chris Hughton has left the club with immediate effect just a day after the conclusion of the 2018/19 campaign.
Brighton are 5/2 in the 2019/20 Premier League relegation betting odds, with current Swansea manager Graham Potter the overwhelming favourite to be named as Hughton’s successor.
Hughton sacked – an unfair dismissal?
The chief task for Hughton at the start of this campaign would have been Premier League survival, which he achieved. In fact, Brighton were never once in the bottom three throughout the whole season.
What’s more, the Seagulls also reached the FA Cup semi-finals for the first time in 36 years, where they were only beaten 1-0 by Premier League champions Manchester City.
Arguably, there was also evidence that Brighton punched above their weight this term, considering they have the third lowest budget in the Premier League.
For a team with limited resources, what more could have been expected?
Hughton sacked – why it makes sense
In a league that continues to develop and improve, Brighton have showed little in the way of progression in the last season. In fact, it can be argued they have gone backwards.
The foundations for their survival were built with a strong start, securing 21 points from their opening 15 fixtures. They picked up only three points across their final 10 matches, losing seven.
This drop off of performance is a legitimate concern, while statistically their numbers were mediocre too. Brighton propped up the entire division for shots attempted and shots on target. They sat 19th for overall xG (expected goals).
Although not massive cash-splashers, Brighton did have a net spend of £37m last summer, even before wages are considered. Their main signings have been flops, with questions raised over Hughton’s ability to integrate new players.
Alireza Jahanbakhsh was top scorer in the Eredivisie last season, but hasn’t nocthed a single goal this campaign in 24 appearances, while Jurgen Locadia has netted only twice in 30 games, having joined last January for a reported £15m from PSV.
The Brighton hierarchy clearly think now is the time to push on with efforts to play a more expansive style of football. Is Potter that man?
He is 2/5 to be the next Brighton manager, followed by Phil Neville (7/2) and Frank Lampard (11/1).