Brighton went up against the most dominant team in world football, and they mostly held their own before ultimately falling short, 2-1, against Manchester City. The argument could be made that if Ansu Fati hadn't pulled one back late, the scoreline wouldn't have been as flattering for the Seagulls, but Roberto De Zerbi's men were never out of the game.
Although Brighton are still safely in the top half of the table and absolutely in the conversation for a European spot, they may find it difficult to repeat as a top-six team in the 2023/24 season. Not only did they lose several vital players in the last summer transfer window, but, worse yet, they are also losing key players during the season to injury.
Solly March has been Brighton's most impressive player since the start of the last season, but the winger and makeshift left back could be out for quite some time.
Brighton's Premier League dream dashed with Solly March injury
De Zerbi told reporters after the match that he thinks March will be injured for a "long time", and then he called the current campaign "different" due to the mounting injuries.
In that same match, attacker Danny Welbeck, usually utilized as a striker, also went down injured. Welbeck isn't as vital to the team as March, but he is still one of the better attacking players in the Premier League and a crucial all-around veteran presence due to his link-up play (and experience in the English top flight).
Unlike, say, Manchester City or Chelsea, Brighton don't have the squad depth to withstand too many injuries, nor do they have the financial resources to then sign replacements for the second half of the season during the winter transfer window.
Without March, Brighton are down to a grave left back situation, since the forward was already an emergency option. More importantly, March is one of the best players in the Premier League right now. He has four goal contributions this season and had a whopping 14 last season.
The 2023/24 Premier League season is far from over for Brighton, but De Zerbi's press conference panic is understandable, reflecting the grave nature of the situation. Brighton lost Julio Enciso to a meniscus tear, so if March is out for an extended period, that is two dynamic weapons down for a team that could feel stretched thin.
At the top of the Premier League table, Brighton are competing with clubs that have more resources than they do. The margin for error is slim, and it is frustrating for a manager like De Zerbi who is doing everything right, to see misfortune potentially derail what could be another special Seagulls' season. If March is out for long enough, the missed points could be enough to bump Brighton behind the Europa League places.