Brighton's familiar problems resurface in front of goal in Forest stalemate

Brighton’s familiar problems resurface in front of goal in Forest stalemate

Brighton have failed to score in their last three Premier League games

New manager, same old goalscoring problems for Brighton, whose winless run under Roberto de Zerbi continued in a Premier League draw against Nottingham Forest.

The Seagulls have averaged just above a goal a game in the last three seasons.

However, an opening-day victory at Old Trafford plus impressive wins over West Ham and Leicester suggested those longstanding issues were resolved. And the Italian’s first game at the helm was a 3-3 draw at Liverpool.

But since then precious little has gone right for De Zerbi’s side, who have failed to score from 54 shots in three fixtures since their trip to Anfield.

Nineteen of those efforts came against Forest, who arrived on the south coast propping up the table.

Leandro Trossard smashed an effort on to the visitors’ crossbar and an inspired Dean Henderson in goal for Forest also superbly saved from the Belgian and Pascal Gross, while Adam Webster and Joel Veltman were guilty of glaring misses.

De Zerbi told BBC Sport: “In my experience in the Premier League it’s not the first time my team play like this and we can’t win. We shoot 19 times, we have a lot of chances.

“You can choose the way to win. You can choose what style of play you can play. These players have chosen their way. I really like this way. This evening we’re sorry for the result. This is our way to achieve our result.”

Since Brighton’s first Premier League season in 2017-18, they have failed to score in more games (72) and played out more goalless draws (23) than any other side in the competition.

And based on their chances against Forest, Brentford and Tottenham, they have drawn a blank in each from from 4.53(xG) with the daunting prospect of a trip to champions Manchester City to come on Saturday (15:00 BST).

If their failings in front of goal continue it will threaten to undermine a fine start to the campaign and leave their fans with a familiar feeling of exasperation.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, former Brighton midfielder Steve Sidwell said: “Last season against Leeds they dominated and coming off the home fans booed and [then manager] Graham Potter was dismayed.

“The fans can see the team playing with purpose and intent, they created very good chances, it is literally just putting them away. I don’t think they can they accept a point against bottom-of-the-league Forest.”

Forest take ‘small step forward’

Meanwhile, Forest’s winless sequence may have continued into a ninth Premier League game but manager Steve Cooper’s tactical tweaks, after an alarming run of five successive defeats in which his side conceded 18 times, appear to have delivered some stability.

“We’re striving for that win. We have to look at what we did well. It’s progress. A small step forward,” Cooper said

“We should have drawn against Wolves but we lost. That can deflate a group especially on a run like ours.

“But for the lads to show the togetherness and willingness to keep a clean sheet, they’re committed to getting to the level we want to be at to compete in this league.

“I know we’re not creating loads of chances and having loads of territory. That’s what we want to build up to. We know where we are. The points tally is nowhere near what we’d like. It’s a good base to build from.”

While Cooper will be conscious of the need to striking the right balance between attack and defence as he attempts to move Forest up from 19th in the table, Sidwell was impressed by their endeavour against Brighton.

He added: “Defensively, they’re fantastic and it is a good point. They are disciplined and I have been so impressed by their structure.

“They have worked on this on the training ground and you can see the distances between the back line and the forwards, [it was] very compact, they made it quite hard for Brighton.”

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