Brighton finished the 2018/19 season with a 4-1 defeat at home to champions Manchester City. The defeat saw Brighton’s winless run stretch to nine game, ultimately leading to Chris Hughton being relieved of his duties the day after the end of the season.
Here’s a look back at the season and an overall grade for the Seagulls’ season.
Premier League – 17th
Brighton narrowly avoided relegation, finishing two points ahead of Cardiff who took the last relegation place.
The Seagulls finished the season on an awful run, drawing three and losing six of their last 10 games, their last victory away to Crystal Palace on the 9th March.
Hughton was given a very good transfer kitty last summer, but the big signings didn’t work out. Right winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh was signed for £17m, and in 19 Premier League games he didn’t score a single goal. The Seagulls aslo spent £15m on midfielder Yves Bissouma, but he failed to establish himself as a regular, only making 17 starts.
There were some bright moments for Brighton this season, most notably the 3-2 home victory over Manchester United, and draws against Arsenal in both the home and away matches.
Domestic Cup Performances
Carabao Cup – Second Round
Brighton went out after a 1-0 home defeat to Premier League rivals Southampton. It was a fairly even game, but Charlie Austin popped up with an 88th minute winner to send the Saints into the next round.
Hughton decided to play a weakened team, with Mathew Ryan, Lewis Dunk, Shane Duffy and Glenn Murray all being rested.
FA Cup – Semi Final
Brighton recorded victories against Championship teams West Brom, Derby County and Millwall on their route to the FA Cup semi-final.
In the third round they had an excellent 3-1 win away at Bournemouth, but were then taken to a fourth round replay by West Brom which they managed to win in extra time thanks to two goals from Murray. The quarter final match against Millwall ended in dramatic fashion, going to penalties, as the Seagulls went ahead 5-4 to claim their spot in the next round.
Manchester City stood between Brighton and a place in the cup final, and a fourth minute Gabriel Jesus goal ensured victory for City.
Lewis Dunk was the standout performer for Brighton this season, and his good performances earned him an England cap in October. Dunk was ever-present in the back four, starting 36 of the Seagulls’ 38 league matches.
Dunk captained the side for a large majority of games this season, and had it not been for his consistent performances Brighton may have found themselves playing Championship football next season.
It’s not easy easy to pick out the worst player from a very underwhelming side, however Jurgen Locadia managed to make the cut. The striker managed only two goals in 26 Premier League appearances, and has failed to justify his £15m price tag.
Furthermore, the good form of the never-ending Murray restricted Locadia to just 12 starts in the league.
Brighton finished in 15th last season, and after a fair chunk of money was spent last summer the fans had high hopes that Brighton would kick on and improve on last year’s finish, but they’ve gone backwards.
Hughton came under a lot of criticism for Brighton’s style of play. The fans and the club’s hierarchy wanted to see more attacking football, and that may have been one of the deciding factors in the eventual decision to sack him.
The highlight of their season was getting to the FA Cup semi final, but their league position was very disappointing. The board will be hoping a new manager can help them process in the Premier League.
Overall Grade: D