Gus Poyet: Brighton Need To Keep Hold Of The Uruguayan Wenger To Reach The Premiership

We may've crashed out of the FA Cup following Walcott's 85th minute winner, but if we can keep hold of Poyet; the Premiership will soon be a reality for Brighton.
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We may've crashed out of the FA Cup following Walcott's 85th minute winner, but if we can keep hold of Poyet; the Premiership will soon be a reality for Brighton.


When Brighton and Hove Albion chairman Tony Bloom handed Gus Poyet the reins of the club back in 2009, not only was he taking a punt on a young, hot-headed individual with next to no managerial experience, but he was also putting faith in the Uruguayan's aim to reshape the club from top-to-bottom and introduce a South American style of football on the South Coast.

There was a special feel around the club when the self-assured Uruguayan strolled into town with his trusted number two and former teammate Mauricio Taricco, and he would soon transform a dwindling League One side into a sturdy Championship outfit looking to reach the glory of the Premier League.

Since Poyet's arrival at the club, Albion have often been compared to various Spanish sides due to the free-flowing football he has implemented, while also being dubbed 'the lower league Arsenal'. So when the pair were drawn together in the 4th round of the FA Cup on Saturday, the footballing world was foaming with anticipation.

The comparisons between the two clubs are largely because of the similar views of both gaffers. Arsene Wenger is going through a sticky patch with Arsenal right now and a lot of fans are calling for his head, but there can be no doubting his achievements since he has been in charge of the Gunners. The wily Frenchman has picked up four FA Cups, four Community Shields and three Premier League titles and has gifted us with some of the most sublime football the English topflight has ever seen.

His pass-and-move philosophy and his focus on the technical side of the game was seen as a splash of beauty on a somewhat 'traditional' Premier League, and his desire for sexy football is something which is a view firmly shared by Mr Poyet.

The managerial pair strive for possession of the ball, knocking it around until the opposition start to leave gaps. They then ruthlessly rip them apart with quick, harmful passing and pop the ball across the pitch to their heart's content. The high-intensity pressure while off the ball is also something that makes it incredibly difficult for any opposing side to squeeze anything out of them.


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Another similarity between the two managers is their preference to structure a largely foreign squad. We all know that the focus on technical ability and composure on the ball has been a lot higher in other parts of Europe compared to England, and it led to Wenger collating a squad almost entirely consisting of Frenchmen. The likes of Thierry Henry and Patrick Viera were the spine of any success Wenger has had in north London and is appears that Gus Poyet is emulating that at Brighton, only with a Spanish contingent.

Albion now have five Spaniards in their first team squad, plus new £2m signing Leonardo Ulloa who holds a Spanish passport. Bruno Saltor; a right-back who signed off the back of a 3 season spell with La Liga side Valencia, Inigo Calderon; a goal scoring full-back who represented Alicante and Deportivo Alaves, Andrea Orlandi; an attacking midfielder who played for Alaves, Barcelona and Swansea before Albion snapped him up this summer, David Lopez; over 200 appearances in La Liga with Osasuna and Athletic Bilbao and Vicente; 242 appearances and a Europa Cup winners' medal with Valencia as well as 38 caps for the Spanish national side.

The cup tie between the two clubs on Saturday was a close-fought, stylish game with the visitors ultimately nudging the Championship out of the competition. Arsenal twice went ahead in the tie through Olivier Giroud, but a determined Brighton side hit back through Ashley Barnes and debutant Leo Ulloa before substitute Theo Walcott struck in the 85th minute to clinch the victory and the Gunners' place in the fifth-round draw.

Gus Poyet and his Brighton side had their chance to out-play the masters at their own game and although they were close to forcing a trip to the Emirates for a replay, the margin of quality revealed itself and narrowed the Londoners into the next round. There is no doubt that Poyet will one day be a Premier League manager and will get to display his delightful footballing ideas on a larger platform, I just hope it is with Brighton.