How soon into a season should you start to make predictions about its outcome? Normally I reckon that about ten games is enough to give at least a fair idea on good/average/struggle. Even so each game is important and sets the team up in terms of confidence. The first two or three games of a season can be really defining. In our last three seasons we have had pretty good starts – and indeed they have tended to help us weather our poor closing. I think the Brighton game was very significant for several reasons. It is of course only one defeat but – it comes off the back of a run of defeats after our semi-final win. It also continued that trend of conceding heavily. Secondly Brighton are a “struggler” club in recent years, not a top 6. Third we were at home and if you are going to survive that is where you get most of your wins. Maybe Brighton had a “new manager” effect, were fairly lucky and the scoreline perhaps flattered them slightly. But they have spent heavily and it looks like they will climb the table this year. However out first target is always survival and to do so you need around 40 points and that probably means about 11 victories. Assuming our form against the top 6 continues and we get no wins again this year we have 26 “winnable” games. Only 13 home ones. You have to factor in some draws 4, 5? So realistically you are only going to win about 8 home games and then have to pick up a few victories on our travels – just to survive. Yesterday could have been one of those 8 wins. If we go to Everton and lose the pressure on us at home to West Ham will be great – how did we do in April – oh yes, we lost 4-1. I am sure the usual suspects will come on here bemoaning “negativity” as though any analysis which does not say we will get into Europe is bad but as I said at the beginning you really need about ten games to get a true perspective and I am certainly not suggesting that the one defeat can tell us too much. However sometimes a warning sign appears early and needs to be taken seriously. I think Brighton falls into that category. What do others think?