Unfortunately I couldn't watch this game live, but the highlights gave me the following impressions:
- Our performance wasn't great. Frank's decision to use a 4-2-2-2 was clearly influenced by Leipzig and thus designed to help Werner acclimatise. Werner himself did looks good, as others have said. He's obviously rapid, but he also showed good movement to stretch Brighton's defence throughout the game and good anticipation to latch on to that pass from Jorginho and win the penalty.
However, there were other issues with the formation. Mount did well because the attacking midfielders in a 4-2-2-2 not only need to display good movement off the ball but also need to track back. Those are Mount's strengths. Unfortunately, the one thing that was consistently criticised about Havertz was his relative lack of work rate and defensive acumen, and it showed. Lewis Dunk almost scored because Havertz was ball-watching and so failed to mark him properly.
Kante and Jorginho were fine - the latter dictated the tempo as he always does, while Kante was his willing self. He's been playing as a kind of volante for a couple of seasons now, so his role in this game wouldn't have required a major adjustment. Our full-backs are probably not suited to the formation long term - Alonso is Alonso, while Reece James is less a two-way full back and more somebody who gets up the pitch a bit and then crosses the ball (he had a great game, mind). To consistently get the best out of him, I think you probably need an attacker ahead of him to cover the space near the byline, because James seems to lack the pace and energy to do that. So I'm sceptical that 4-2-2-2 is the long-term answer.
- Ruben should have suited a 4-2-2-2 reasonably well because his role was to interact with teammates by linking up play. So he had some freedom to roam and look for the ball. Unfortunately he just looked as if he hadn't played for a decade.
- More of the same from Kepa. No obvious howlers but beaten by a long shot yet again. This one was very well-placed, but Kepa's positioning was again not ideal and he seemed slow to react to it. He got a touch on it, which suggests that he could possibly have kept it out had his positioning and anticipation been better.
- Zouma was excellent. Neither of Brighton's forwards are the strongest, quickest or tallest and Zouma took full advantage of that fact by bullying them both aerially and on-the-ground. His game on-the-ball was ugly as usual, but it worked.
- From Brighton's POV, Graham Potter's 3-5-2 did a decent job cancelling out Frank's 4-2-2-2, because it not only gave them an extra-man in defence, but their wingbacks more freedom because Havertz and James aren't really two-way players. As usual, they created a lot but couldn't finish and (regrettably from a patriotic perspective) Ryan had a poor game. They should come about 15th again, but to rise up the table they need someone besides Maupay who can actually score goals.
- On this showing, we're going to struggle against Liverpool. 3 at the back will not work against a 4-3-3 with two inside forwards with lethal pace, acceleration and off-the-ball movement, especially since our wingbacks are not the quickest. There are no great options, but given the personnel matching their 4-3-3 may be the best solution because our fullbacks will be protected more and Kante will be given more freedom to win the ball than he would be in a 4-2-3-1 or 4-2-2-2.