There are plenty of caveats to apply to Brighton’s frenetic and joyous 3-2 win over newly-crowned champions Manchester City.
The fact City were already confirmed as champions, for one thing. The fact Joao Cancelo was sent off in the early stages is another. The fact that Brighton were able to play with the carefree abandon that the guarantee of another season in the top flight brings.
But caveats schmaveats. This was a great and timely win for both Brighton and Potter, who, while undeniably English, is still treated with sniffiness approaching disdain by the PFM community who consider his path to management and methods to be a bit suspect and, frankly, a bit too foreign.
A 14-year nomadic, journeyman career around the Football League should really be just the ticket for a top-flight manager. He’s played for all the right sort of clubs – your Birminghams, your Stokes, your West Broms – and as a left-back, which is a good solid no-nonsense kind of position.
But then it all went wrong. He did a degree. He managed university football teams. Heaven help us all, he lost his way so very badly that he ended up managing in Sweden for absolutely ages, leading a team from the fourth tier to European football over the course of seven years that he could have instead spent in four different jobs in League One. He is a fool.
Plenty could be heard wondering where on earth the three-goal blast that turned this game on its head could possibly have come from, because of course xG is just for nerds and boffins and has no value.
Who indeed? Someone really should come up with a metric that might hint towards the probability of such things. pic.twitter.com/fKOl4diWLH
— Football365 (@F365) May 19, 2021
Many of those pundits consider the very idea that Potter might be in the running for a job like Spurs utterly absurd, while simultaneously believing that Scott Parker could be just the man to turn things round at White Hart Lane, because DNA.
But above all that noise, the single biggest criticism aimed at Potter is that for all the praise and all the attention his Brighton side receive from soy boy hipsters, they are no better than Chris Hughton’s. It’s so much balls, and this was a great reminder why.
Brighton will quite rightly fight tooth and nail to keep Potter at the club should Spurs or anyone else come calling, because this Brighton team is absolutely not the same as Hughton’s. Nobody else in the bottom half plays football like Brighton. Nobody else with their resources has so enterprising a gameplan. They are one of the best teams to watch and have now beaten Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham this season.
They have also failed to win any games against Sheffield United, West Brom, Fulham, Burnley and Crystal Palace, but that’s half the fun isn’t it?
Tuesday’s second half was a spectacular, eye-opening teaser of what this Brighton side is capable of when the stars align and the chances go in. And it was wonderful.
Potter may well move on, and there really are no better alternatives currently beating a path to White Hart Lane (despite John Nicholson’s radical plan), but it would be a shame.
The work he’s done with this Brighton squad is truly excellent and we’d love to see it translated to on-field results.
If Brighton do keep him this summer, then it has to be on one deceptively simple condition: that they provide him and the rest of his enterprising, captivating squad with the actual proper goalscoring striker they deserve.
I’ve heard there might be one available from Spurs anyway.