Ahead of Southampton's trip to the Amex Stadium in the Premier League, we spoke with Brighton Argus journalist Andy Naylor to get the inside track on the newly-promoted Seagulls...
Premier League football has been an ambition of Brighton’s for so long. How does the reality compare to the expectation?
It has lived up to expectations so far. Every game feels like a big occasion. The Amex is regularly selling out and the atmosphere has gone up a notch.
How would you assess results and performances so far?
Consistently good after a nervy start, which yielded one point out of nine, although the season opener was against Manchester City. It could be even better. They were leading and in control deep into the second half at Bournemouth when they lost, and Everton snatched a last-gasp equaliser from the penalty spot in the last home game.
What difference have the summer signings made, and who have been the standout performers?
The vast majority are from other top leagues throughout Europe and the pattern with them has been similar. They are finding their feet more and more with every game. They have added quality without affecting the tight-knit squad dynamic that played a prominent role in promotion. German number ten Pascal Gross has been involved one way or another – goals, assists or assisting an assist – in seven of the nine goals scored by Brighton.
How has Chris Hughton adapted the team’s tactical approach, if at all, from last season?
It was primarily 4-4-2 in the Championship, modified to 4-4-1-1 now with the arrival of the aforementioned Gross and Izzy Brown on loan from Chelsea.
It’s been six seasons since Saints last visited the Amex Stadium. What can the travelling fans expect from their matchday experience?
A friendlier welcome than is the case for visiting supporters at many other grounds – Brighton go out of their way to make sure that is the case. A decent view too – from behind the South Stand goal.
What sort of game do you expect on Sunday?
Tight and low scoring. That’s a 3-3 guaranteed then, but I fancy Brighton to sneak it 1-0.