Brighton’s Alexis Mac Allister feels right at home in the Bissouma role

Tony Bloom confirmed this when asked by The Argus recently if they had already signed their replacement for Yves Bissouma.

But if they were plotting the exit of Yves Bissouma when they signed Alexis Mac Allister, their foresight is even greater than we thought.

The Argentine is looking for a real candidate to play Bissouma, albeit in his own way.

When he signed from Argentinos Juniors, he was essentially known as a player who played left-hand or right next to the centre-forward.

He went back on loan and played that role not only for Argentinos and Boca Juniors but also for the Argentina U23 team that reached the Olympics.

It’s safe to say that Albion haven’t signed him to play deep in central midfield.

But now he’s thriving in a role that has amazed those who have seen him in Argentina.

It turns out he likes it.

He speaks with pride about how he added a new dimension to his game.

Even if, by his own admission, he handles rather than enjoys the more physically combative side of the game in this area.

Albion’s message remains that they don’t have to sign a ‘Bissouma replacement’, although they undoubtedly know a few.

(Notice how fewer mid-tier names have been flying around with a #bhafc hashtag since Tony Bloom and Paul Barber said so?) Of course, that could be a tactic to drive prices down further.

In reality it reflects what we have been proposing for some time.

That they need a Bissouma replacement or two but they signed him or her before the man himself went to Tottenham.

Mac Allister is now seen as a central midfielder by Argentina’s line-up.

His first appearance in club service came in the first half of Saturday’s game against Estoril.

He worked alongside Moises Caicedo while Pascal Gross was in front of them.

It wasn’t a Premier League test, although Estoril were a decent midfield side in Portugal last season.

But Mac Allister seemed well suited to the task of grabbing and moving the ball in tight areas.

Under pressure, he likes to demand possession of the ball and hold the opponent back.

He played his way out of a corner late in the first half and the ball worked through Joel Veltman and Caicedo to put Neal Maupay forward and create a chance for Danny Welbeck.

None of these are entirely new.

Mac Allister played deep in midfield for the final 45 minutes of last season after Bissouma was substituted.

He also took on that role in the post-season game at Manchester City when Bissouma was suspended.

On Saturday, unofficial stats from The Argus showed he made 25 successful passes in his 45 minutes.

Most of them were short and simple to keep things going, although one pushed Gross behind the defense.

The one unsuccessful run wasn’t entirely unproductive.

For a long time he looked like he was trying to get Welbeck behind the defense.

Although Welbeck didn’t make it, that was only because the Estoril goalkeeper was forced out of his box to chop the ball away for an Albion throw.

Mac Allister made four interceptions and regained ball three times in tackles.

He committed a foul and attempted a shot from about five yards outside the box that went wide.

So, yes, Albion likes to plan ahead.

But Graham Potter also likes to adapt to the respective situation and is flexible.

An obvious example: Albion neither signed a new centre-back nor kept Leo Ostigard on board when Ben White left.

Another – the ability to use the switch to five substitutions during restart games, including cleverly using half-time as a “window” for a change or two, when not all of us were aware of this gap.

An internal interview with Potter for the club’s website after the Estoril game included a question centered on Albion already having the resources to cover Bissouma’s exit.

Mac Allister played to Caicedo’s right in what could sometimes be described as a 3-2-3-2 formation, as the full-backs got wide in front alongside Gross.

Adam Lallana anchored midfield in the second half with help from Steven Alzate.

Enock Mwepu has been kept out as a precaution as he returns to preseason.

Potter said, “They have different qualities.

“But Alexis and Moises we wanted to play 45 because it’s their first game. You did really well.

“Then Adam and Steven came in and showed their quality as well.” Brighton’s Alexis Mac Allister feels right at home in the Bissouma role

Fry Electronics Team

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