Fantasy Premier League

How Hurzeler can revive Brighton’s FPL potential

By The Scout 13 Jul 2024

The Scout on how new head coach can help Seagulls bounce back from disappointing 2023/24 season

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The appointment of Fabian Hurzeler as head coach of Brighton & Hove Albion can revive the potential of their key players in 2024/25 Fantasy Premier League

The 31-year-old arrives on the back of steering St Pauli to the Bundesliga 2 title and promotion to the Bundesliga for the first time in 13 years.

Managers in Fantasy will be hoping Hurzeler can have the same positive impact on a Brighton side who were a major disappointment in 2023/24 Fantasy in Roberto De Zerbi’s second – and final – season in charge.

Six Seagulls players surpassed the 100-point mark in Fantasy in De Zerbi’s first season at the helm in 2022/23, while a further two delivered over 90 points.

That’s in stark contrast to last season, when just three players – Pascal Gross, Joao Pedro (£5.5m) and Simon Adingra (£5.5m) – managed more than 90 points.

Brighton's top-scoring players in Fantasy, last two seasons
Player 2022/23 points Player 2023/24 points
Pascal Gross 159 Pascal Gross 153
Solly March 147 Joao Pedro 104
Alexis Mac Allister 140 Simon Adingra 97
Kaoru Mitoma 138 Lewis Dunk 89
Pervis Estupinan 128 Danny Welbeck 79
Lewis Dunk 112 Kaoru Mitoma 74

Although that figure can partly be explained by long-term absences to Brighton’s first-choice wingers, Kaoru Mitoma and Solly March (£6.5m), the underlying numbers clearly highlight a significant downturn in attacking potential in 2023/24.

In De Zerbi’s first season in charge, their expected goals (xG) score of 74.42 ranked second in the league. But their xG was only 58.02 in 2023/24, with the drop of 16.40 across those two seasons the worst of any side.

Brighton were also relatively resilient in defence in 2022/23. They kept 12 clean sheets and had an expected goals conceded (xGC) score of 49.83, the fifth-best in the division. 

However, an increase in xGC to 56.44 highlights the frailties that resulted in a mere six clean sheets in the previous campaign. 

Brighton's xG data, last two seasons
Statistic 2022/23 2023/24
Expected goals (xG) 74.42 58.02
xG rank 2nd 9th
Expected goals conceded (xGC) 49.83 56.44
xGC rank 5th 7th

Certainly, managers can anticipate a change in tactics for Brighton this season, with Hurzeler favouring a 3-4-3 formation.

His preference for wing-backs could bring Pervis Estupinan (£5.0m) back into contention as a top pick in Fantasy on the left of the Seagulls’ defence, while Tariq Lamptey will be hoping to secure the role on the right. 

In attack, Mitoma, March and Joao Pedro will be expected to occupy the front three roles for the new head coach. 

Yet it could be in central midfield where Hurzeler’s tactics make the biggest impact in Fantasy. 

The German likes one of his three centre-backs to push up into midfield when his side are in possession, which allows one of the two central midfielders to then operate as a No 10.

Marcel Hartel was the main beneficiary in this system for St Pauli last season, scoring 17 goals and assisting a further 12 – both of which were team-leading totals. His fellow central midfielder Jackson Irvine, meanwhile, delivered six goals and nine assists – those 15 goal involvements were second only to Hartel.

Arguably, the Irvine spot could be best-suited to Gross, allowing the 33-year-old to sit deeper and choose when to join the attack. There would be no surprise, then, if Hurzeler moves into the transfer market and brings in someone who can flourish in the more physically demanding central role alongside Gross.

Having impressed at both ends of the pitch in De Zerbi’s first season, there’s no doubt that Brighton’s key players have the potential to re-establish themselves as valid options when 2024/25 gets underway.

Hurzeler’s moves in the summer transfer market, added to the Seagulls’ showings over pre-season, will help determine exactly who FPL managers should be setting their sights on.

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