Brighton are making strides under Graham Potter but the hard yards lie ahead | Jonathan Wilson

The south coast club, who host Leicester on Sunday, have made a flying start but have had a favourable fixture list

xG is not a perfect tool. Models vary. They have flaws. But still, it is striking that most xG – expected goals – models for last season had Brighton finishing not 16th, as they actually did, but fifth or sixth. Imagine that had happened. Imagine Brighton, with the 15th-highest wage bill in the division, had qualified for the Europa League. It would have been an extraordinary achievement. Graham Potter might not have been named coach of the year ahead of Thomas Tuchel, but he would surely have nudged Marcelo Bielsa out of second.

More than that, Potter would have been a serious candidate to take the Tottenham job, rather than just somebody who was mentioned in passing. The (excessive) grumbling about Gareth Southgate would have a more sharply defined focus: here, the doubters would be able to say, is the ideal replacement. And yet the general tendency seems still to be to regard Potter as an oddity.

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