New head coach Graham Potter has some important decisions to make and some key areas to address if Albion are going to improve on finishing 17th in the Premier League this season.

Andy Naylor reports on seven things to look out for.


Potter does not envisage a major overhaul but the change of manager could lead to a change in some of the transfer targets, with his Swansea and Ostersund colleague Kyle Macaulay added to the recruitment team.

The Argus revealed earlier this month Albion's interest in Chelsea's teenage full-back Reece James (below centre), who impressed on loan to Wigan.

The Argus: They need a replacement for retired captain Bruno and more pace and athleticism across a squad which has a pedestrian feel to it.

The key area Potter needs to address is up front.

Albion depended on 35-year-old Glenn Murray for 13 of their 35 goals.

Only relegated Cardiff, Fulham and Huddersfield scored fewer. Next-worst were Newcastle with 42.

Florin Andone and Jurgen Locadia have yet to fire.

Albion have been linked with 22-year-old Swansea striker Ollie McBurnie, who scored 22 goals in the Championship this season, following Potter's appointment.


Lewis Dunk, Bruno's successor as skipper, could attract interest.

He has missed out on Gareth Southgate's most recent England squads but will be well-suited to Potter's ball-playing style.

It might be a breath of fresh air for Dunk after so long at the club and a route back into the international reckoning, rather than feeling the need to move to enhance his prospects.


A reluctance by players to chance their arm played a big part in the low tally of goals.

Only Burnley (360) had fewer than Albion's 371 shots.

The Seagulls' total of 108 on target was the lowest, as was the one scored from outside the box.

The likes of Yves Bissouma (below) and Solly March are capable of emulating Anthony Knockaert's winning strike at Crystal Palace. They just need to back themselves.


The total of 15 through balls was comfortably the lowest in the Premier League.

Pascal Gross had a big impact playing as a No.10 in the first season after promotion, providing seven goals and eight assists.

The German was an unknown quantity then, so it was always likely to be tougher second time around.

That was compounded by ankle and hamstring problems which robbed the team of his probing attributes for long periods.

Jose Izquierdo, now recovering from a second knee op, was also a big miss out wide.

Potter will be hoping both of them are fit and available more than they were in Chris Hughton's second season.

It remains to be see how the new head coach utilises Gross. Potter is fluid in the formation he uses, changing it from game to game and during games.


Albion were generally defensively sound under Hughton, apart from second half carnage at Fulham and in the 5-0 home defeat by Bournemouth.

One flaw was the concession of ten penalties, more than any of their rivals.

Cardiff and Huddersfield came next, on eight, and they both went down which emphasises the punishment.

The late penalty given away by Beram Kayal (below) against Leicester at the Amex, which turned a win into a draw, was a good example.


Home form had been the bedrock of the rise from the Championship and Premier League survival until the second half of the season, when it collapsed.

Only one point was taken from the last five matches at headquarters and six out of nine games this year ended in defeat, several of them especially damaging against other teams involved in the relegation fight.

Potter will need to restore the reputation of the Amex as a hard place for visitors to get results if Albion are going to climb.

Potter will also want to build on Albion's first away point in 12 attempts against the top six at Arsenal at the end of the season.

Those matches will always be particularly tough but improving the number of wins against the rest will be a target.

Albion won at Swansea and West Ham in the first season under Hughton, at Newcastle, Huddersfield and Crystal Palace in the second.


It is tempting, but misleading, to think Albion had no attacking strengths under Hughton.

They did well in certain areas. Ten headed goals put them eighth in the rankings, four goals from counter-attacks seventh.

The quantity of crosses was high, 636 for 12th, although the suspicion is the quality was often lacking.

Most significantly of all, they scored 14 goals from set plays.

This is not an area to be sniffy about when you consider the only teams that profited more - Spurs and Everton with 16, Liverpool with 20.