Brighton beat Leicester City on Sunday to move into the top four of the Premier League. Graham Potter’s side have been impressive so far and have only lost one game in the league. They have scored seven goals and conceded four goals in the five games that they have played.
Brighton signed left-back Marc Cucurella from Getafe in August for a transfer fee of £15 million. Cucurella looks to be calm and clever when he has the ball, from his performances so far.
Cucurella made his home debut for the Seagulls on Sunday and the Spaniard impressed with a superb display at left-back. He got his foot in when needed defensively and moved forward on occasion, getting the crowd excited when he dribbled past Ricardo Pereira in the first half to set up Maupay who shot was deflected over the bar.
Cucurella made his first start for Brighton in a 1-0 win away at Brentford. He had a decent game and was able to contribute towards the clean sheet kept by his team. He made three interceptions and won two duels throughout the match.
Cucurella had a much higher impact in the game against Leicester both defensively as well as in the final third. He attempted five dribbles in the match and also put in three through balls. He also made seven interceptions and won two duels. It was a complete performance from the young full-back who showed his energy and pace on the left flank by defending the ball and immediately running into the opposition half to support the attack.
The above visual shows us the pass map for both the matches he has played so far. The pass map indicates that Cucurella has a naturally attacking style of play as there are more passes played by him in the opposition half. The passes and crosses he has played in the final third appear to have a high xT.
Brighton created the most number of chances from the left flank as seen in the above visual. Cucurella playing on the left side had the highest xT than any other plan on the pitch from the passes and crosses he attempted. He completed the most number of passes for Brighton as he attempted 42 passes with a passing accuracy rate of 88.10%. Cucurella also spent more time in the opposition half than his own.
Brighton have had a problem with filling up the left-back positions for the last few seasons. Their most recent selections at left-back were Dan Burn and Solly March. Burn is a fine defender and can win most of the duels he attempts, but lacks the attacking threat that his manager requires. Whereas Solly March is better offensively but can be a weak point in the defence. Cucurella has a balance of both styles of play and will most probably be the regular at the left-back position. Graham Potter has adopted a more attacking style of play and quicker fullbacks who are calm on the ball are important for this system to work.
With the arrival of Marc Cucurella, Potter can make most of the Spaniard’s attacking capabilities in order for his attacking system to work.