Johnny Cantor: Experienced heads and Potter’s subtle differences get Brighton off to a for West Ham

Graham Potter celebrates victory at Watford (Getty)
Graham Potter celebrates victory at Watford (Getty)

The action has begun and Brighton and Hove Albion are off to a flyer.

Last season’s opening day defeat at Vicarage Road seems a distant memory after Graham Potter began life as head coach with an accomplished 3-0 win at Watford.

In fact, the transfer window already seems to be well in the past even though it closed just a week ago.

No new signings made the starting 11 in Saturday’s victory but I think we will see plenty of the new faces across the next nine months. Potter is likely to shuffle his pack more regularly than his predecessor Chris Hughton.

He instils confidence, empowers all his players and appears to trust them, however big or small their contribution may be to a match. In his short time in charge he appears to refer to the “group of players” not “the team”.

It is a subtle difference but gives us an insight into how he works. What about the fans? They will certainly have enjoyed the win at the weekend and also the style in which it was achieved.

They may have been surprised that Pascal Gross was preferred to new signing Leandro Trossard but the German’s influence on the Seagulls’ success in the Premier League across the last two seasons cannot be underestimated. The young summer signing will have his chance and, of course, supporters are keen to see new attacking players.

During the transfer window fans of all clubs appear to clamour for attackers (Arsenal maybe the exception!), someone who can excite, someone who can score goals.

This weekend’s opponents West Ham United certainly have favoured offensive players in their summer dealings with the arrival of Sebastian Haller and PabloFornals. Often though defensive additions are overlooked.

Adam Webster’s price tag was more eye-catching than most but he may well face a battle to start if Dan Burn continues his excellent start in the top-flight.

Double striker substitutions and diamond formations have all be discussed this week and that is understandable, but the Albion’s strength in depth at centre back, with two phenomenal talents out on loan, could also be the key to success in a new formation.

One central defender, the captain Lewis Dunk, is now the figurehead for the defence and the club.

In all the calls for a new striker, a creative midfielder or a full back, the best bit of business the club did, or didn’t do, was to keep the 27-year-old.

The repeated determination by the chairman to keep his most consistent players like Dunk and Dale Stephens is perhaps one of the biggest factors in the club’s continued presence in the Premier League.

Graham Potter will no doubt blood in the new talent, maybe as early as Saturday against the Hammers, but the progression that follows the evolution appears to be in safe hands.