Albion Analytics: Graham Potter's 100 games

Crunching the numbers behind the boss' 100 matches in charge.

By Liam Tharme • 24 November 2021

By Linton Rogers
Graham Potter has overseen 100 games in all competitions as Albion boss.

Graham Potter recorded a century of games as head coach on Saturday, providing the perfect time to reflect and analyse the club’s progression under him.

Potter ranks among the top five youngest head coaches in the division, and ranks inside the top eight for length of tenure at two years, six months and nine days at the time of writing.

Data always needs context to evaluate, and across the century of Graham Potter managed games, the Albion have boasted improved clean sheet rates (29% versus 22%), scored (1.15 versus 1.02) more goals and conceded fewer (1.34 versus 1.46) per game and avoided defeat in a greater proportion of games (62% versus 55%) across all competitions when compared to performances from the 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons combined.

Expected goals (for and against) data, which is best used to track performance over long time periods, shows favourable attacking increases and better defensive performances since Potter’s arrival.

In the last Premier League season Albion finished with club records for points (41), points finished above relegation zone (13), clean sheets (12), fewest goals conceded (46) and most goals scored (40), clear evidence of progression in terms of output as well as style. Such upward trends have been maintained this season, and despite a slight dip in recent form this is still Brighton’s best ever start to a Premier League season.

Speaking of style, ever since Potter’s arrival, his team have played some of the most possession-heavy football of any side outside the big six, recording the majority share of possession in 61 of the 100 games. In every season so far under Potter, Albion rank inside the top two (non-big six) sides for open-play sequences consisting of ten passes or more, having completed 990 such patterns across Potter’s tenure thus far (Premier League games only), with 201 leading to a shot or touch in the opposition box. Per game, Brighton’s frequency of these passing sequences is now at its highest ever in any Premier League season (15.5), and they rank third overall in the Premier League for this metric.

A commitment to providing an academy-to-first team pathway has been clearly demonstrated under Potter, with Brighton providing the greatest proportion of minutes to homegrown players of any Premier League side last season.

Thirteen different players aged 23 or younger (at the time of playing their first game) have received Premier League debuts under Potter, and he has given debuts to 20 other Under-23s across cup competitions. Seven Premier League ‘debut balls’ – awarded to any player who has spent more than three years in an English football academy prior to debut – have been given to Albion players thus far in Potter’s reign (Adam Webster, Robert Sanchez, Ben White, Taylor Richards, Jayson Molumby, Steven Alzate, Aaron Connolly).

Last season, and in this current campaign, Brighton’s average age of their starting 11 has been below the Premier League average. Internationally, Brighton have had at least 12 senior international debuts since the start of the 2019/20 season.

No player has scored more goals for Brighton under Graham Potter than Neal Maupay, who coincidentally has scored as many goals (22) as Brighton have had different Premier League goalscorers under Potter. The Frenchman has netted with each of his right foot (13), left foot (6) and head (3), and has six assists under Potter too, evidence of the variety of chance types that a Potter system creates, as well as the varied demand on players to contribute to all phases of the game.

Leandro Trossard is the only player to record double digits in goals (13) and assists (10) under Potter, and the Belgian is currently having more shots (2.75) and touches in the opposition (5.34) per game than ever before in the Premier League – his dribble success rate of 74% is also an individual season best.

Pascal Gross has assisted the most goals (16) of any Brighton player under Graham Potter, with the German only assisting more (32) under Ralph Hassenhuttl at Ingolstadt.