Pascal Groß: Brighton’s Secret Creative Weapon

The Premier League boasts an abundance of creative talents, including Cole Palmer, Kieran Trippier, and Pedro Neto, among others, who are competing for the Playmaker of the Season award. Amidst them resides a player who remains relatively unknown to many but quietly shares the lead in assists.

Enter Pascal Groß, the crucial piece in Brighton’s machine who has quietly racked up an impressive tally of assists during his tenure at East Sussex let alone in the 2023/24 campaign.

This article will explore the various elements of Groß’s creative arsenal that have propelled him to be in the run-in for the Premier League Playmaker of the Season award.

Brighton’s Pristine Supplier

Groß is leaps and bounds ahead of any other Brighton player in terms of chance creation this season. According to the data, Groß leads the team in shot-creating actions (SCA), offensive actions that lead to a shot, and impressively produces 130% more SCA than the second-highest player for Brighton in this metric.

Moreover, Groß ranks in the top five for SCA in the Premier League.

These ridiculous numbers are not a one-off-season occurrence as, last year, Groß ranked among the top ten in the same metric.

The German midfielder’s primary creative strength comes from his crossing – especially when he receives the ball in the half-space channels.

In such moments, Brighton’s attackers flood the box to ensure that they can get on the end of his pin-point crosses if they come, which is more likely than not. His assists against Brentford, Crystal Palace, Sheffield United, Burnley, and Everton are examples of the same.

Groß’s crossing finesse has also made him Brighton’s chief set-piece taker – making the Seagulls one of the most threatening teams from dead-ball situations. Brighton ranks fourth and Groß first for SCA produced from dead-ball scenarios in the Premier League.

From corners, Groß provided the double threat of finding accurate crosses into the box as he did for his assist for Lewis Dunk against Palace at the Amex…

… and from short corner routines, like his assist against Stoke City where he found Dunk’s acute run after receiving a quick bounce pass from his teammate.

Groß is also a threat from open play as his incisive passing can thread accurate balls through opposition off-ball structures and unlock tight defensive units. Instances from this season include his assists against Palace, Fulham, and Marseille.

Roberto De Zerbi and Brighton have endured a season far from their expectations due to an unforeseen injury crisis that has seen key players like Solly March and Koaru Mitoma on the sidelines. Balancing this with European football has not been easy, and as a consequence, their performance in the domestic league has also taken a hit. Nevertheless, relative to the many troubles confronted by Brighton, the club has experienced relative success.

In Brighton’s first-ever European campaign, they topped their group to proceed directly into the round of 16 where they lost to an in-form AS Roma side. The Seagulls’ narrow 1-0 defeat to Chelsea early in the EFL Cup – the Blues eventually being the losing finalists – was unfortunate due to the numerous chances they had to have won the tie. The same was repeated in the FA Cup where they lost to Wolverhampton Wanderers despite creating more chances than the opposition. In the league, they currently sit mid-table but are not far away from West Ham United and Chelsea.

Throughout these many competitions, there was one constant that had Brighton ticking over and that was Pascal Groß. The versatile player who elevated his game to another level under Graham Potter has been a pivotal cog in De Zerbi’s Brighton machine.

Down the years, when the Brighton supporters look back at their early years of success, Groß will be the standout figure they remember first.

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