We spoke to Albion reporter Andy Naylor from the Brighton Argus to get the visitors’ view on Monday night’s game…
How would you rate Brighton’s season so far?
Four points from the opening four matches is a solid start, considering two of them were at home to Manchester United (won) and away to Liverpool (lost narrowly).
Watford’s early form has put a different complexion on the first day defeat at Vicarage Road, and Brighton did well to grab a point from 2-0 down against Fulham at the Amex after missing a penalty and gifting them a goal.
How has Chris Hughton’s tactical approach and team selection compared to last season?
Tactics in terms of formation have not changed (4-4-1-1) and consistent team selection. They are pressing teams more out of possession, prompting significantly higher interceptions, tackles and fouls counts.
Hughton has been very loyal to his promotion team – do you see some of the new signings getting more game time soon?
It will be a gradual process. The vast majority have again been signed from other top leagues throughout Europe. The settling in period varies from player to player.
Who have been the standout performers in the early weeks of the campaign?
Glenn Murray, approaching his 35th birthday, has been the talisman. A well-taken goal against Manchester United was followed by two more (including a penalty) to rescue a point against Fulham.
He has an enduring ability to make life uncomfortable for central defenders.
Can we read anything into the recent Carabao Cup meeting between the clubs?
No! I would say that, wouldn’t I, since Saints snatched a late winner. The line-ups for both sides were entirely different to those we will see tonight – Brighton included a trio of debutants from the under-23s.
What sort of game do you expect on Monday?
Tight and competitive between two well-matched teams. Both games finished 1-1 last season.
I’m expecting something similar again. Southampton struggle to score goals and Brighton do too away from home.
Would survival represent success this season, or does the club have loftier ambitions?
Survival would absolutely represent success again for a club in only their second season in the Premier League.
They clinched safety last time with two games to spare, finishing 15th.
Gradual improvement is the plan. They have a deeper squad this time and know what the Premier League is all about, but if you guaranteed manager Chris Hughton and owner-chairman Tony Bloom 17th right now they would accept it.