The Seagulls have an array of attacking talent competing for four spots in the XI
The ice has been broken. Ansu Fati made his Premier League debut in Brighton's 3-1 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday. He did so in the 64th minute, replacing Adam Lallana, playing behind Danny Welbeck, the reference in attack. He made a good impression, was involved and André Onana denied him the icing on the cake with a fine save to prevent Roberto De Zerbi's side's fourth goal late on.
Ansu was able to see that being a first-choice starter is difficult in this attractive Brighton side, and the competition ahead of him is fierce. However, the fixture list that the Seagulls have to face -- including the Europa League -- ensures minutes for Ansu, who, thanks to his talent and versatility, can make a permanent place in the XI.
Against United, he played inside, behind the striker, and everything points to him playing in that role for most of the season. Although he left Old Trafford without the prize of a goal, he left a good impression and demonstrated his ability to read the game and generate danger, even without touching the ball.
He was one of those who moved best, making good use of the spaces and putting in good balls. In the action of João Pedro's goal, Brighton's definitive goal, it was born from his unmarked run to the far post that dragged a United defender and created the necessary space for the Brazilian's shot.
The former Watford man Pedro will be his main competitor for the role behind the striker. The Seagulls' most expensive signing of the summer has been a standout performer for De Zerbi and has already scored two goals in five games. Adam Lallana, an experienced player with 270 Premiership appearances to his name, will also be important this year.
Not to be forgotten is Julio Enciso. The Paraguayan, who was seriously injured at the end of August, made 30 appearances last season, scoring seven goals and providing four assists. Unfortunately for De Zerbi, his return will not be for another three to four months.
In his natural position, that of left winger, he will be tough to play. Kaoru Mitoma, one of the team's biggest stars and a sensation at the tournament, is the master of that position. The Japanese winger's ability to get forward, one-on-one play and intelligence make him the undisputed leader of the side.
Brighton were also bolstered in the summer with 21-year-old Ivorian attacker Simon Adingra, who plays on the left wing, although De Zerbi is also using him on the right to share the minutes with Solly March, who holds the keys to the right winger.
Finally, the No.9 role has a name and a surname: Evan Ferguson. The 18-year-old Irishman has started this season like a shot and has only been slowed down by injury. After scoring a hat-trick against Newcastle, he suffered a knee injury. Ansu could play the role of 'false 9' without problems, but considering what De Zerbi demands for his attacking reference, it is a scenario with limited options.
Danny Welbeck is the stand-in striker. He started and scored the first goal against Manchester United.
The big question mark will be his adaptation to the toughness of the Premier League, as well as his physical condition to be able to exploit his range of offensive resources. To see him forming up front with Mitoma, March and Evan Ferguson is an exciting scenario to say the least. Will it happen next Thursday, in the Seagulls' Europa League opener against AEK Athens?
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