Watford 0-3 Brighton: Graham Potter makes instant impact with Seagulls
Report and highlights as new signing Maupay among the scorers in opening day win
Last Updated: 10/08/19 7:35pm
Graham Potter made an instant impact at Brighton as he oversaw a 3-0 victory over Watford in his first game in charge.
Playing a more progressive and attack-minded system than his predecessor Chris Hughton, Potter's side were handed a first-half lead by an Abdoulaye Doucoure own goal (28).
Watford - well below their usual standards - had no answers as Potter's second-half substitutes Florin Andone (65) and new signing Neal Maupay (77) netted in what was a very comfortable opening day success.
How Potter inspired Seagulls
Potter went with his preferred 3-5-2 formation with an encouragement of his defenders to be bold on the ball. A few early wayward passes did not merit much hope but they soon settled and caused problems down both flanks with their wing-backs.
There was just one new name in the Watford line-up as Craig Dawson made his debut following his move from West Brom. Despite lots of summer recruitment there was familiar feel to Brighton’s line-up with all of their big summer signings on the bench, including Maupay.
This positive approach resulted in the opening goal on 28 minutes. New Watford signing Craig Dawson played a poor pass out which was seized upon by Jurgen Locadia, who fed Dale Stephens. His cross was half-cleared by Jose Holebas and Pascal Gross' volleyed cross was lazily turned past Ben Foster by his team-mate Doucoure, though Glenn Murray loomed for a tap-in.
Watford: Foster (5), Dawson (4), Cathcart (6), Holebas (6), Femenia (6), Capoue (5), Hughes (6), Doucoure (4), Gray (4), Deulofeu (6), Deeney (4)
Subs: Pereyra (4), Success (N/A)
Brighton: Ryan (7), Duffy (7), Dunk (8), Burn (7), March (7), Montoya (7), Gross (7), Propper (8), Stephens (7), Locadia (6), Murray (6)
Subs: Andone (7), Maupay (7), Bernardo (N/A)
Man of the Match: Lewis Dunk
Chances were at a premium as set-pieces seemed Watford's best route to goal with Shane Duffy doing well to avoid an own-goal when Kiko Femenia headed across the six-yard box.
Second-half substitute Roberto Pereyra screamed for a penalty after the break when his free-kick struck Murray's arm but VAR went with the on-field decision of no penalty from referee Craig Pawson.
Andre Gray had an effort blocked by Matt Ryan before Brighton soon doubled their lead when Potter's double change of Andone and Maupay added extra energy in attack.
Davy Propper got in down the right on 68 minutes and whipped over a cross that was swept home stylishly by Andone.
Watford's confidence was shot by this point with a lack of mobility and pace in attack restricting their ability to test a resolute Brighton back three, led by Lewis Dunk, who also made a difference up the other end of the pitch to lay on Brighton's third.
Dunk split the Watford back four with a sensational pass which was seized upon by Maupay and he rounded Foster before sliding home from a tight angle.
Man of the match: Lewis Dunk
It wasn't always comfortable viewing watching the Brighton defenders try to play out from the back but Dunk was by far the most accomplished of them, culminating in a 91.5 per cent passing accuracy. A stat that will no doubt bring a smile to Potter's face. Along with his distribution, Dunk was his usual brilliant-self defending his box with his mate Duffy and Dan Burn. There was also time for him to produce an assist for Maupay with an outrageously good defence-splitting pass.
Potter: A dream start
"It's a fantastic result and to score three goals away from home is a bit of a dream," Potter said.
"The players application in pre-season has been first-class and in this game you have to survive some moments with the Premier League quality Watford have. But I thought we tried to do what we set out to do and then you need a bit of luck and quality.
"We know there is a good foundation here with a really good group of players - the job is to help them improve and get better. We must now dust ourselves done and not get carried away. We know we can improve. We need to focus on another tough match on Saturday."
Gracia: A wake up call
"I think we need to improve, maybe it's a good wake-up call for the rest of the season," Javi Gracia said.
"It's the first game and we have a lot of games and time to improve. Today there are no excuses. They played better than us and deserved the three points and got the result they deserved."
- Brighton have ended a nine-game winless run in the Premier League (D3 L6), their first victory in the competition since beating Crystal Palace back in March.
- Andone netted Brighton's second goal just 62 seconds after coming on as a substitute.
- Maupay is the 13th different French player to score on his Premier League debut; only England (96) has seen more debut goalscorers in the competition.
Watford have a date in the diary with Everton next Saturday while Potter's first home game at the Amex is against West Ham.