Brighton and Hove, UK. 24th Sep, 2023. Roberto De Zerbi, Manager of Brighton and Hove Albion applauds the fans after the Premier League match at the AMEX Stadium, Brighton and Hove.

The Premier League table over the course of Roberto De Zerbi’s 38 games as Brighton manager

Roberto De Zerbi has now taken charge of a full season’s worth of games at Brighton and the job he’s done over that period is nothing short of extraordinary. 

Brighton are in European competition for the first time in the club’s history after De Zerbi led them to a historic sixth-place finish last season.

They weren’t a million miles off qualifying for the Champions League and are up in the top four after their excellent start to 2023-24 – all after selling over £150million worth of first-team talent in the summer.

Over the course of the 44-year-old’s 38 games in charge of the club, they rank among the Premier League’s best sides for pretty much any attacking metric you can think of – goals, expected goals, shots, touches in the opposition box and chances created.

“It’s a dream for me, it’s crazy”, De Zerbi told the club’s YouTube channel, reflecting on a full year at the helm of the Seagulls.

“It’s been incredible to work here, to reach the important target.

“My focus is still on this season, but if I remember back to the first period and compare it now, I’m really proud and happy.”

The Italian then identified two key results from last October that were key in producing a successful formula at The Amex.

“I think the crucial game was Chelsea, in terms of the result (winning 4-1),” he said.

“But if we speak about the mentality, the style of play, the attitude and behaviour of the players, how the players played in that game, we can consider Man City the most important and crucial game (losing 3-1 the week before).”

Brighton have won 19, drawn seven and lost 12 of De Zerbi’s 38 Premier League games in charge of the club. They’ve scored 79 goals and routinely taken points off sides with more resources, beating Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United and Newcastle.

That puts them seventh place when you look at the table over the last full season’s worth of games. The other most striking thing is Chelsea. The flailing Blues poached Graham Potter last September, leading to Brighton appointing De Zerbi in his place.

Since then, Chelsea have taken 25 points fewer than Brighton, scoring considerably fewer than half as many goals – they’ve averaged a fraction over a point per game over a season’s worth of matches, with their 39 points enough for relegation in years gone by.

It’s amazing when you consider that Chelsea boast the Premier League’s fifth-biggest wage bill and second-most expensively assembled squad that they’ve been so comprehensively outperformed by Brighton, from whom they’ve poached so many players.

The Seagulls have the 15th-biggest wage bill in the Premier League and built their entire squad for less than Chelsea paid for Moises Caicedo and Enzo Fernandez.

We’ve only included the 17 teams that have been in the English top flight throughout De Zerbi’s tenure, so have left out last season’s relegated sides and this season’s promoted teams, and have included the last 38 games for each and every team.

1. Man City – 93 points, +60 GD
2. Arsenal – 83 points, +43 GD
3. Liverpool – 74 points, +29 GD
4. Newcastle – 73 points, +43 GD
5. Man Utd – 72 points, +9 GD
6. Aston Villa – 69 points, +12 GD
7. Brighton – 64 points, +23 GD
8. Tottenham – 60 points, +8 GD
9. Brentford – 56 points, +6 GD
10. Fulham – 52 points, -3 GD
11. Crystal Palace – 47 points, -8 GD
12. West Ham – 46 points, -7 GD
13. Nottingham Forest – 41 points, -22 GD
14. Chelsea – 39 points, -9 GD
15. Wolves – 39 points, -32 GD
16. Everton – 36 points, -26 GD
17. Bournemouth – 35 points, -27 GD

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