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We used Football Manager to see if Juventus’ stonewall defence could keep Brighton & Hove in the Premier League next season

We used Football Manager 2017 to determine whether Juve trio Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Barzagli could keep the Seagulls in the top-flight next season
 

Brighton & Hove will be in the Premier League next season, which is worthy reward for their brilliance in the Championship for the last couple of seasons.

Brighton sealed promotion with a second place finish, after a memorable season challenging Newcastle at the top of the table.

They began the season with a brilliant 18-match unbeaten run, as they topped the league for most of December and January and finished the season comfortably in a promotion place.

But you feel that next season will be very different for the Seagulls, as they bid to stay in the top-flight.

One happy place

PA:Press Association
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One happy place

And while we certainly have no doubts they’ll give the big league a good ol’ go, we decided to see just how well they could do with a little bit of help.

Using the power of science – well, Football Manager 2017 – we simulated a whole season of Brighton’s top-flight campaign and gave them the mighty defence of Juventus.

That’s right, Italian trio Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Barzagli will be rocking up to Brighton’s Amex Stadium on the opening weekend of the Premier League season in an attempt to keep the side afloat.

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So there they are, three of the world’s best defenders donning the blue and white stripes of Brighton.

Juventus’ defence made plenty of headlines last season, especially in the Champions League where, coupled with Gianluigi Buffon in goal, the Italian giants managed nine clean sheets and conceded just three times in their 12 Champions League matches leading up to the final.

Can their might keep them in the Premier League?

Let’s find out: 

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Oh, well look at that. 

With the defensive brilliance of Juve, Brighton managed a very respectable 14th place in their debut Premier League season.

And while their goal difference was the second-worse of the league, the influence and quality the three brought to the side is evident, as they topped several end of season player statistic boards.

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Chiellini and Bonucci particularly flourished, both making the Premier League team of the season, with Bonucci making the top five end of season lists for player ratings (with a rather nice 7.63 rating) and most Player of the Match awards.

Not a bad trio to have

Getty Images
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Not a bad trio to have

Delving further into the finer details of the season shows Bonucci would feel very much at home in England, as he made the most interceptions in the league with 238, with Arsenal’s Per Mertesacker behind with 205.

Bonucci was also third in headers won during the season, behind Mertesacker and Liverpool’s Joel Matip.

Chiellini wasn’t far behind the interceptions table with 156, while the veteran defender was high-up on the list for average tackles made per game.

Bonucci has been linked with Chelsea and Manchester City in the past

AP:Associated Press
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Bonucci has been linked with Chelsea and Manchester City in the past

Hughton set his side up in a traditional 4-4-2 formation, with Bonucci and Barzagli in the centre and Chiellini out to the left.

With the season over, Barzagli, who’s slightly older than his counterparts, opted to retire, while Bonucci and Chiellini seemed quite content to build on Brighton’s successful first season.

Hughton has plenty of Premier League experience with Newcastle and Norwich

Reuters
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Hughton has plenty of Premier League experience with Newcastle and Norwich

Of course, in reality, Brighton will have to face next season’s Premier League challenge without three of the world’s best defenders.

But here’s hoping they fare just as well in the real world.

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