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Can Chris Hughton keep Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League?

This season in the Championship, we’ve witnessed Newcastle United winning the league, and Brighton & Hove Albion also gain automatic promotion to the Premier League. That being said, how will Albion manager, Chris Hughton deal with next season in the top tier?

First, we can evaluate how Brighton & Hove Albion have done this season. The opening five games of the season saw the Seagulls go unbeaten, until meeting Newcastle. Another loss followed, against Brentford, which meant something needed to change. After that game, Brighton went unbeaten in 18. They won 14 of those, conceding only 9 goals.

Albion then only lost seven more games throughout the remainder of the season. Finishing second was a huge deal for the club as they hadn’t been in the top tier of English football since 1982/83.

Brighton captain Bruno applauds fans for their support this season

Brighton have the joint best defence in the Championship, tied with Newcastle; both sides conceded 40 goals this season. The Seagulls fans can thank solid defenders such as Lewis Dunk, Shane Duffy, Bruno, Gaetan Bong and Sebastien Pocognoli.

Of course, Brighton have an attacking threat that can’t go unnoticed, which helped them finish runners-up in the league. They only had the Championship’s fifth-best attack but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been a threat. Sam Baldock has 11 goals, while Tomer Hemed also has the same amount.

One of Brighton’s standout players this season has been Anthony Knockaert. The Frenchman has bagged himself 15 goals, giving himself a bit of publicity throughout the season. He will definitely be one player to watch out for in the Premier League next season.

Knockaert has a big role to play for Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League

Anthony Knockaert celebrates one of many goals he scored this campaign

Another key player has been Glenn Murray. The 33-year-old has scored 23 goals this campaign, meaning he’s the Championship’s joint-second top goalscorer this season. Murray is no stranger to the Premier league as he played with Crystal Palace and AFC Bournemouth before being transferred to Brighton.

One player that may not get mentioned much is goalkeeper David Stockdale, a key part of why Brighton have kept so many clean sheets. An unsung hero, Stockdale has, incredibly, kept 21 clean sheets this campaign. Don’t be surprised if you see him making some fantastic saves next season in the Premier League.

Glenn Murray – Brighton’s major goal threat with 23 in the 2016/17 season

Chris Hughton will make sure his side are well prepared for next season, but he knows some changes will have to be made. Players will be sold and new players need signing to strengthen the whole team. The Seagulls manager is also no stranger to the Premier League.

In recent times, Hughton has managed Newcastle United and Norwich City in the English top flight. This means the Irishman definitely has knowledge of the league and has experienced the difficulties first hand as a manager. What is important now for Hughton and Brighton is that they do everything they can to survive relegation next season. Can they achieve that target?

If Chris Hughton signs the right players this summer, Brighton & Hove Albion could avoid the drop next season. However,  if the wrong players are sold and new additions prove unworthy, they will suffer. The Seagulls boss will need to find the right balance and dynamic of the team. Brighton have what it takes to survive relegation in the Premier League.

The aim for Brighton & Hove Albion is to establish themselves as a Premier League club. If they can do that next season, the Seagulls have a bright future ahead.

About Jamie Kynaston

A season ticket holder at Stoke City for 20 years. Follows most leagues and usually talks too much about football.
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