Albion Analytics: A season to remember

The stats and trends that made it a record-breaking campaign for the club.

By Liam Tharme • 01 June 2023

By Paul Hazlewood
Pascal Gross leads the celebrations after scoring in the 3-1 win against Southampton that secured European football.

2022-23 was a season to remember for Albion with club records tumbling.

Albion recorded their most wins in a top-flight season (18), double as many as they managed in the first four Premier League campaigns (9 in each), notably having fewer draws than ever before (just 8, one fewer than in 2018-19), and accumulating 62 points — 11 more than last season, making Albion the sixth-biggest improvers in terms of points from the 2021-22 campaign.

A significant measure of success is that it was Brighton’s first Premier League season with a positive goal difference (+19), but more importantly they bettered last season’s club record highest finish (9th) by ending the season in sixth spot and securing Europa League football for the first-time. Roberto De Zerbi’s side were one of just four sides, along with Manchester City, Tottenham and Arsenal, to spend the entire season in the top half.

This was largely due to our bounce back-ability; Albion won consecutive Premier League games on four occasions and lost consecutive games just once all season, to Tottenham then Brentford in October. Excluding defeat to Aston Villa on the final day of the season, all of Brighton’s last eight league defeats were followed by a win in the next Premier League game.

Brighton are the 21st club in Premier League history to register a top-six finish, with 51 different clubs having featured in the competition, and Albion have managed a 60-point Premier League season faster than the likes of Fulham, Wolves, Bournemouth, Brentford and Crystal Palace.

The Seagulls netted a whopping 72 goals, the fourth-best attack in the league and more than in their first two Premier League seasons combined (69), while being exactly 30 more than what they managed last season (42). Only Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal (all 16) had more different goal scorers than Brighton’s 15.

Such a sheer volume of goals, unsurprisingly, meant Brighton blew some teams away. They had seven wins by three or more goals, as many wins as they had by a solitary goal, with only Arsenal (8), Manchester United (9) and Manchester City (12) beating more teams by 3+ goals.

The 6-0 home win against Wolves saw them score six goals for the first time as a top-flight side, with four first-half goals also a club first in the Premier League. Danny Welbeck, Deniz Undav and Pascal Gross all bagged braces, just the fifth time in league history that three players on that same team have scored at least twice. Away to Everton, Brighton scored four goals on the road for the first time as a top-flight side, all inside the opening hour, achieving another club first (as a top-flight side) for winning three consecutive away games.

They had the most shots (20) of any team in a game against Manchester City this season, with only Wolves (21 in December 2019) and Atletico Madrid (22 in March 2009) having more in a top-flight game against a Pep Guardiola side. Oh, and Julio Enciso scored Match of the Day’s Premier League goal of the season in that match.

Albion (26) also recorded the most shots by a visiting team to Stamford Bridge (against Chelsea), since Opta started collecting data in 2003. Brighton became the first team to beat Arsenal at the Emirates in the Premier League without conceding since Liverpool (2-0) in March 2022.

An ability to compete against big sides will be pivotal considering the opposition Albion can expect to face in the Europa League next season, but their results and underlying metrics against the Premier League’s ‘big six’ sides were outstanding.

They were the only team to win at Old Trafford, beating Manchester United 2-1 on the opening day, with Erik Ten Hag’s side conceding just 10 home league goals all season. Excluding sides in the ‘big six’, only Brentford (21) took more points against ‘big six’ teams than Brighton (20), with the Seagulls and Bees tied for most wins (6) against such opposition. De Zerbi’s side stood clear at the top though for goals (23), xG (20.3), average possession (53.7% — the only team to average a majority share of possession) and high turnovers (53). Brighton pressed the top teams, they controlled the ball against them and they broke them down.