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What We Learned from Brighton 0-1 Sheffield Wednesday

Jack LusbySenior Writer IIIOctober 14, 2016

What We Learned from Brighton 0-1 Sheffield Wednesday

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    New Brighton manager Sami Hyypia can take much from his side's loss.
    New Brighton manager Sami Hyypia can take much from his side's loss.Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

    Brighton & Hove Albion began their maiden season under new manager Sami Hyypia with a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Sheffield Wednesday.

    The Owls gave the Seagulls a run for their money throughout a testy affair, with the contest decided by an exceptional, curled strike by Wednesday midfielder Giles Coke.

    Hyypia's side go into Tuesday night's Capital One Cup tie with Cheltenham licking the wounds of this first defeat but will have taken much from this experience.

    Here are five things we learned from Brighton 0, Sheffield Wednesday 1.

Greer and Hughes Provide a Solid Backbone

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    Gordon Greer has a new partner at the heart of the defence.
    Gordon Greer has a new partner at the heart of the defence.Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

    Old hand Gordon Greer is entering his fifth season with the Seagulls, having joined in 2010, immediately becoming then-manager Gus Poyet's club captain.

    Last season, the 33-year-old was partnered by Matthew Upson, a player with considerable top-flight experience having featured for the likes of Arsenal, Birmingham City and Stoke City in the past.

    The England international has since moved to Leicester City, and in his place steps another player of Premier League pedigree: former Fulham man Aaron Hughes.

    In the two veterans, Brighton once more have a centre-back partnership capable of a charge to the top of the Championship.

    Hughes was named man of the match against Wednesday, and Sussex publication The Argus opines that "Greer may well have run him close."

    A combination of defensive steel, considerable experience and well-oiled composure, Greer and Hughes can go on to form a formidable partnership for Brighton this season.

Stockdale Is a Great Kuszczak Replacement

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    David Stockdale joined Brighton & Hove Albion from Fulham in the summer.
    David Stockdale joined Brighton & Hove Albion from Fulham in the summer.@OfficialBHAFC

    Former Manchester United goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak was Brighton's first-choice goalkeeper for two seasons, after having signed for the club on a free transfer in 2012.

    The ex-Seagulls No. 29 made 43 appearances in the Championship last season, keeping 17 clean sheets—the fourth highest in the league, per Squawka—but was released at the end of 2013/14.

    Enter former Fulham man David Stockdale.

    The 28-year-old joined for an undisclosed fee on a three-year contract after having spent six years at Craven Cottage, per BBC Sport.

    Despite conceding Giles Coke's wonder strike, Stockdale gave a good account of himself against Wednesday, and his dedication to supporter interaction via his Twitter account will make him an early favourite.

    The Englishman will go from strength to strength and can comfortably make up for the loss of Kuszczak.

Signing Another Striker Is a Must

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    Craig Mackail-Smith is one of Brighton & Hove Albion's current strike options.
    Craig Mackail-Smith is one of Brighton & Hove Albion's current strike options.Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    With Argentine forward Leonardo Ulloa departing the Sussex club for the Midlands with Premier League newcomers Leicester City, in an £8 million deal per BBC Sport, Hyypia's side are short of a consistent goalscorer.

    Summer signing Chris O'Grady scored 15 goals in the Championship last season, but this could be something of a blip for the 28-year-old.

    The Englishman has scored 0.24 goals per game on average, per soccerbase.com, compared to Ulloa's 0.44 per game on average.

    Club-record signing Craig Mackail-Smith currently completes Brighton's outright striking options but has yet to set the Amex alight—another forward signing is required to supplement the British pair.

    One such player would be Leicester City forward Chris Wood, who would add another physical presence to the club along with a goalscoring sheen, although BBC Sport has already reported Wolves' interest.

    Potential targets are slipping away fast.

Hyypia Has Work to Do with System

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    Sami Hyypia is still finding his feet with his new squad.
    Sami Hyypia is still finding his feet with his new squad.Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

    Following the appointment of Hyypia in June, Brighton midfielder Andrew Crofts told BBC Sussex (h/t BBC Sport) of his delight at the signing of his new manager:

    I'm loving it. I think it is an unbelievable appointment by the chairman. It has been four weeks I have worked with him so far and I can't speak highly enough of him. The boys have really taken to how he wants to approach the game.

    This approach takes its influence from the former Finland international's playing days, and Hyypia spoke soon after his arrival of his managerial style, per BBC Sport: "As a defender I like that a team defends well... Of course, the attacking play is also important as without goals you can't win."

    The 40-year-old places emphasis on utilising possession and making the "quick transition" from defence to attack, and whilst this wasn't wholly apparent on Saturday, this system will develop in time.

    Following the weekend's loss, the manager told the club's official website, seagulls.co.uk, that "Every manager always wants to have a better squad and I am hopeful that we will get our targets. Then, maybe, it will look a little bit different... Overall we’re on the right path and it’s work, work, work."

    The Seagulls boss is renowned as a patient man and will work confidently to adapt the squad's style of play.

    Hyypia is working on adding to the Seagulls' personnel, with a loan move for Liverpool youngster Jack Robinson mooted, per The Guardian, and the Finn will be keen to make his stamp on the club's identity.

    It will take time, but Brighton can flourish under the stewardship of the former Red.

It Will Be Another Long Championship Season

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    The Amex is set to be the backdrop to countless tough contests for Brighton this season.
    The Amex is set to be the backdrop to countless tough contests for Brighton this season.Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

    Although a 1-0 loss at home to Sheffield Wednesday is not an ideal start to the Championship season, there are 43 league games yet to be played.

    Sami Hyypia is a manager with a growing reputation in the game and an enduring taste for success stemming from his playing days.

    Brighton fans should be confident that the Finn is the right man to aid the Seagulls this season.

    Patience is a virtue, particularly in England's second tier.

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