New manager, same old goalscoring problems for Brighton, whose winless streak under Roberto de Zerbi was continued in a Premier League draw at Nottingham Forest.
The Seagulls have averaged just over a goal per game over the past three seasons.
However, an opening-day win at Old Trafford, as well as impressive victories over West Ham and Leicester, suggested those long-standing problems were resolved. And the Italian’s first game at the top was a 3-3 draw at Liverpool.
But since then, very little has gone on for de Zerbi’s side, who have not scored in three games since their trip to Anfield.
Nineteen of those efforts met Forest, who arrived on the south shore and shored up the table.
Leandro Trossard slammed an attempt on the visitors’ crossbar and an inspired Dean Henderson in Forest’s goal also made excellent saves from the Belgian and Pascal Gross, while Adam Webster and Joel Veltman both blatantly missed.
De Zerbi told BBC Sport: “Based on my experience in the Premier League, it’s not the first time my side have played like this and we haven’t been able to win. We shoot 19 times, we have a lot of chances.
“You can choose the path to victory. You can choose what style of play you can play. These players have chosen their path. I really like this path. Tonight we are sorry for the result. This is our path to achieve our result .”
Since Brighton’s first Premier League season in 2017/18, they have not scored in more games (72) and drawn more without a goal (23) than any other side in the competition.
And based on their odds against Forest, Brentford and Tottenham, they’ve each drawn a gap from 4.53(xG) with the daunting prospect of traveling to champions Manchester City on Saturday (3pm BST).
If their mistakes continue in front of goal, it threatens to undermine a good start to the season and leave their fans with a familiar sense of despair.
Former Brighton midfielder Steve Sidwell said on BBC Radio 5 Live: “Last season against Leeds they dominated and the home fans booed and booed [then manager] Graham Potter was dismayed.
“The fans can see that the team are playing with intention and intent, they created very good chances, it’s literally just to take them. I don’t think they can accept a point against bottom Forest.”
Forest takes “a small step forward”
Meanwhile, Forest’s winless streak may have continued into a ninth Premier League game, but manager Steve Cooper’s tactical tweaks after an alarming run of five straight defeats that has seen his side concede 18 times appear to have provided some stability .
“We are aiming for this win. We have to look at what we did well. It’s progress. A small step forward,” said Cooper
“We should have drawn against Wolves but we lost. A group can drain that especially during a run like ours.
“But for the lads to show that cohesion and a willingness to keep a clean sheet, they are determined to get to the level we want to be at to compete in this league.
“I know we don’t create a lot of chances and we have a lot of territory. We want to build on that. We know where we’re at.”
While Cooper will be aware of the need to find the right balance of attack and defense as he seeks to move Forest up from 19th in the table, Sidwell was impressed with their display against Brighton.
He added: “Defensively they are fantastic and that’s a good point. They are disciplined and I was so impressed with their structure.
“They’ve been working on that on the training ground and you can see the gaps between the back line and the strikers. [it was] very compact, they made it pretty difficult for Brighton.”