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Talking Tactics

Mac Allister can help Brighton make possession count

Adrian Clarke 19 Feb 2021
Alexis Mac Allister, Brighton

Adrian Clarke on how Seagulls can turn control into goals when they host Crystal Palace

Adrian Clarke looks at key tactical points in Matchweek 25.

BHA 1-2 CRY
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Brighton & Hove Albion will be determined to turn dominance of matches into goals when they welcome Crystal Palace on Monday night.

Brighton were completely in charge during a 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park in October, registering 20 shots to Palace's one, which came from the penalty spot.

It was a similar story last time out, in a one-sided goalless draw against Aston Villa, who were inspired by the performance of goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez.

In that match, Brighton led the shot count 26-4 and their failure to capitalise on matches they control has been a running theme.

They have the fourth-lowest shot/goal conversion rate, 11.63 per cent, and the widest negative difference in Opta’s Expected Goals (xG) table.

Palace have conceded 25 goals in their last 12 matches and Brighton will view this as an opportunity to claim only their second home win of the season.

Biggest negative xG difference 2020/21
  xG Goals scored Difference
Brighton 34.12 25 -9.12
Sheffield Utd 23.45 15 -8.45
Fulham 27.07 19 -8.07

*Correct going into MW25

Mac impact

Alexis Mac Allister has provided Brighton with fresh attacking impetus in recent weeks.

The Argentinian midfielder has starred in a No 10 role, firing off 14 shots in his last six starts. Ten of those came from outside the box and he has laid on nine chances for his team-mates.

Mac Allister scored his first Premier League goal to equalise against Palace, with a deflected effort from the edge of the penalty area, and they must watch him closely to avoid a repeat.

Mac Allister scores v Palace

Brighton's points tally does not reflect the quality of their off-the-ball work.

Despite switching formations on a match-by-match basis, they are consistently excellent out of possession.

Defensive comparison in 2020/21
Possession won final third Fewest shots on target faced
Liverpool 128 Man City 51
Man City 118 Chelsea  71
Brighton 111 Brighton 79

*Correct going into MW25

They press from the front in an organised manner and keep their shape with intelligent discipline.

Only Liverpool and Manchester City regain the ball inside the final third more often than Brighton, who have also faced the third-fewest number of shots on target this term.

Brighton have conceded just nine goals in the last 12 matches, giving them the second-best defensive record in that time.

Fewest goals conceded last 12 matches 
Team Goals conceded
Man City 3
Brighton 9
Arsenal 10
Fulham 10

They have kept six clean sheets in that run and conceded more than once on just two occasions.

While Brighton may be two places and three points below Palace in the table, they will be keen to prove exactly why they are on a club-record six-match unbeaten run.

Also in this series

Part 1: Neto and Traore can evade Leeds with roaming roles
Part 2: Doucoure can drive Everton to rare derby win
Part 3: Ceballos can help Arsenal press Man City

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