Brighton and Hove Albion
Manager: Gus Poyet
Ins: Daniel East (free transfer), Bruno (free transfer), Tomasz Kuszczak (free transfer), Wayne Bridge (loan)
Outs: Mitch Walker (free transfer), Michael Poke (free transfer), Alan Navarro (free transfer), Yaser Kasim (loan), Jake Forster-Caskey (loan), Mauricio Taricco (retired)
Strengths: Gus Poyet. Jose Mourinho eat your heart out – you have nothing on the legend that is Poyet. The Seagulls’ 3-1 win over Champions League and FA Cup winners Chelsea last Saturday night will have raised expectations even further. Ever since he first took his place in Brighton’s dugout in late 2009, the guy has worked wonders. He joined the Seagulls when they were looking relegation from League One in the face, but quickly guided them clear of the drop zone before gaining promotion to the Championship a season later. Poyet, we salute you.
Weaknesses: The element of surprise is gone. Poyet’s plan of action stepped up another gear when they shocked the football world by fighting for promotion last season. Teams soon caught onto this plan though and Brighton may find it tricky to guide their way past sides who now know the threat that the Seagulls pose.
Last season’s performance: Amazing. There simply is no other word for it. Even though Brighton eventually finished in 10th place in the Championship, they were knocking on the door of automatic promotion early doors. And this was after gaining promotion from League One a season beforehand.
If they were a celebrity: Johnny Depp. Both can be called unsung heroes in their chosen careers – Brighton because they have yet to clinch a major trophy to highlight their impressive performances in the lower leagues and Depp because, despite his iconic Jack Sparrow persona, has never won an Oscar. Crimes of justice in the modern era.
You might not have known: Poyet’s Brighton do not like to lose in August. Last season, for example, the team won six out of seven games during that month – including an extra-time victory over Premier League outfit Sunderland in the League Cup. Will they be as quick out the blocks once more?
Championship title odds: 14/1