Roberto De Zerbi has joined the club to some effect.
An entertaining and reassuring 3-3 draw at Anfield against Liverpool over the weekend was enough to make Albion fans fall in love with their new Italian boss.
Same but different
De Zerbi is known for his structured and fluid football. Perhaps the ‘hipster’s choice’ for Graham Potter’s successor, in the way Tony Bloom keeps the Seagulls going these days. The 46-year-old did similar things on his debut, with just the one change in his first starting XI setting the tone for the new era. Despite the similarities, de Zerbi tends to push harder, with more intent and directness in attack. A 3-3 in his first game is enough to suggest some high-scoring games with this ‘new Albion’ but one to keep in mind for the season.
Leandro Trossard made headlines when he scored not only Brighton’s first Premier League hat-trick but also only their third hat-trick in the top flight. A remarkable achievement. Alexis Mac Allister maintained his form while the club’s omnipresent midfield carried on. The tactics behind Moises Caicedo and Mac Allister’s ‘double pivot’ proved too hot for Liverpool to handle, as Jurgen Klopp respectfully mentioned after the game. Albion were clinical, a word well known in recent years.
However, it wasn’t just tactical where De Zerbi captured the hearts of the Albion fan base. Energy, enthusiasm and personality. De Zerbi celebrated Trossard’s equalizer in style, running onto the pitch and punching the air with joy. The Italian is known for wearing his heart on his sleeve, a dynamic that hasn’t been recognized in the Seagulls’ recent leadership history. Change is welcomed and fans have already bought it. Such an instant connection is not common in modern football and is not felt all that often by Brighton fans. As We Are Brighton mentioned on Twitter this week, a very “Gus Poyet-esque” connection has formed in quick succession. Fans chanted his name to the tune of Seven Nation Army, and the journey home didn’t feel too bad.
Graham Potter’s influence on this side was clear to see, mind you. It’s important to remember the work and fundamentals of the new Chelsea head coach. Whether through clenched teeth or outright honesty, Potter’s move to Mac Allister has so far proved to be the team’s catalyst for the season; simply incredible to move away from Yves Bissouma so quickly. Trossard’s newfound deadly nature is also attributed to the ex-Albion manager; The effects of his versatility are clear to see and a key factor in the team’s success is his ability to play centre, deep and left.
Taking on one of the most diverse and talented teams in the division would have been too good for De Zerbi to turn down, and early signs are that his stamp could push them past the work Potter has done. The unique momentum could be crucial for a turn in front of goal as De Zerbi has previously stated he expects more goals from the side than he currently has and his message to Trossard was inevitably clear.
Trust and support will be important as the young manager’s first month in office doesn’t get any easier. Spurs visit the Amex on Saturday and eyes will be on De Zerbi for the late kick-off on Sky Sports Live; in a game where he is likely to be aiming for a win. Tottenham haven’t scored in their last four away games away from home and won’t find it much easier at Amex. The pressure is on Antonio Conte to find a result amid a dreary run in front of goal. The support can literally already be seen as Albion’s supporters have rallied to raise funds for a giant De Zerbi flag to be displayed in the North Stand ahead of his home debut – something unprecedented in the Amex era .
An exciting new concept, dynamic and cross-generational as things just feel a little bit different. There’s a buzz in the air and after an electric start at Anfield, Albion are hoping that lightning strikes again against Tottenham.
https://www.theargus.co.uk/sport/23023711.roberto-de-zerbi-makes-early-brighton-impression/?ref=rss Roberto De Zerbi makes an early impression on Brighton