The central midfielder’s introduction to the Premier League took longer than expected after sustaining a broken fibula in Brighton & Hove Albion’s final pre-season friendly against Atletico Madrid at the Amex Stadium.
Kayal’s first involvement with Chris Hughton’s matchday squad came against Manchester United at Old Trafford, but the Israeli had to wait a while longer for his Premier League debut.
The 30-year-old was given another start against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day, but again, Albion were beaten 2-0 as they came up against another one of the Premier League’s top six.
A string of substitute appearances for the midfielder followed, in amongst four 90-minute appearances in the Emirates FA Cup, as Kayal helped the Seagulls to the quarter-final stage.
Dale Stephen suffered an injury ahead of the trip to Goodison Park in March, and this made way for Kayal to earn his third and fourth Premier League starts of the season, as he also featured against Leicester City at the Amex.
Stephens made his return from injury, however Davy Propper saw red against Huddersfield Town on the south coast, which helped Kayal’s case for more game time in the centre of Albion’s midfield.
The Israel international made three consecutive 90-minute appearances for the Seagulls in April, as he helped his team-mates secure vital points against both Spurs and Burnley.
Kayal came off the bench in the closing stages against Manchester United to help protect Albion’s narrow 1-0 lead, as Hughton’s team managed to hold on to secure Premier League survival.