Albion Analysis: #1 Derby County (A), 6th August 2016
Brighton and Hove Albion opened their Championship season with a respectable 0-0 draw away at fellow Promotion candidates Derby County yesterday.
It was a game which could so easily have ended with the Seagulls travelling back to the south coast with all three points.
But despite this, the majority of fans travelled home happy with the performance and were even more optimistic of the what the team can achieve this season.
With David Stockdale, Beram Kayal, Anthony Knockaert, Jiri Skalek and Glenn Murray impressing for the Albion, it was actually the Seagull’s captain Bruno who caught my eye most.
It was his first competitive match since being handed the Albion captaincy in the summer, and he excelled in a position he hasn’t been accustom to.
He was vocal and kept the defence in shape. He was relatively unchallenged by the Derby County forwards and looked very comfortable alongside Lewis Dunk.
His calmness on and off the ball makes him one of our best players technically and although he wasn’t bombing down the right flank like we all know and love, he was a rock in the heart of the Albion backline.
His ability to play anywhere along the back line is a relief in my eyes, as before the match I was a little worried that the creativity of Tom Ince and strength of Darren Bent would have made it a difficult afternoon for the Spaniard.
Lewis Dunk has been well in the media spotlight, with a move to the Premier League swirling around constantly all summer.
The centre half may be a good player, but as he proved last season, he can sometimes make silly challenges and get sent off when the Albion are on top. His dismissals against QPR in December last year and Derby in May evidence that.
I think Bruno may have had a word with the young Englishman over the summer break and told him to be more focused when making a tackle, and making sure he wins the ball. It paid dividend yesterday as Dunk produced a commanding performance.
That’s why Bruno is captain.That’s why he is crucial to Albion’s promotion push.
He is our leader and he obviously has the respect from all his team mates on the pitch. Should he get injured, I worry that leadership and experience he brings would be missed massively.
I dare say he would be missed more than our creative players further up the field.
Manager Chris Hughton was also very pleased with Bruno’s performance but is adamant that the club will look to buy a centre back before the transfer window slams shut.
Bruno’s best position is at right back, but it’s good to see that he can do the job at centre half and no rush to buy the right centre half is needed.