Brighton cruised to a second successive victory to begin the new Premier League campaign with a 2-0 win over an outclassed Watford.
In a sign of what was to come, Brighton began the game in commanding style, dominating possession and territory in open play. However, it was from a simple but brilliantly executed corner kick from which Shane Duffy opened the scoring ten minutes into the match.
The Seagulls passed around Watford with such speed and precision they left the visitors looking like red training cones placed deliberately around the pitch by Graham Potter. Outnumbered in midfield and swarmed upon after each turnover, Watford looked very much like the bookmaker's favourites to be relegated.
As the first half drew to a close, the brilliant Yves Bissouma pounced upon a sluggish pass from William Troost-Ekong to a dozing Tom Cleverley, teeing Neal Maupay up to make it 2-0 with Brighton's second chance of note on an uncharacteristically clinical afternoon for the hosts.
Watford certainly improved in the second half - ending the contest with more centre-forwards than natural centre-backs - but their starting standard was so far below that of their hosts it wasn't enough to turn the tide.
Brighton player ratings
1. Goalkeeper & defenders
Robert Sanchez (GK) - 6/10 - Flashes of fear with the ball at his feet but hardly required to use his hands.
Adam Webster (CB) - 8/10 - Carried out a complex shifting role comfortably.
Shane Duffy (CB) - 7/10 - Marked his return in front of the Brighton crowd with an excellent goal but was perhaps fortunate to escape with a yellow card for a risky tackle in the second half.
Lewis Dunk (CB) - 8/10 - Shifted across to the left hand side of Brighton's back-three, no doubt with Ismaila Sarr's potential threat in mind. Dunk was scarcely troubled and utterly composed throughout.
2. Midfielders & wingbacks
Pascal Groß (RWB) - 7/10 - Delivered the set piece for Duffy's delicious opener, the natural playmaker ensured his creative influence was as prevalent even from out wide in open play as well.
Yves Bissouma (CM) - 9/10 - Wherever you looked, the blur of Brighton's number eight was practically omnipresent; snapping into tackles, reading the play effortless and building from deep.
Adam Lallana (CM) - 7/10 - Restored to the starting XI, Lallana littered the match with delicate touches and flicks to knit Brighton's play together.
Solly March (LWB) - 7/10 - Tirelessly trawling up and down the left hand side, March emerged largely unscathed from his tussle with Sarr.
Leandro Trossard (RW) - 7/10 - Heavily involved as he dovetailed menacingly with Groß down Brighton's right but faded after the break.
Neal Maupay (ST) - 8/10 - A sharp finish took his scoring tally after two games a quarter of the way to his final total last season (eight). Although, worryingly, his afternoon was curtailed by injury.
Alexis Mac Allister (LW) - 6/10 - Trying to pick up threatening positions between the lines, the former Boca Juniors forward was the least threatening of Brighton's front line.
Aaron Connolly (ST) - 6/10 - Missed a glorious chance shortly after coming on following more superb play from Bissouma in the build up.
Enoch Mwepu (CM) - 6/10 - Brought on to stiffen up the midfield with mixed results.
Jakub Moder (CM) - N/A
Watford player ratings
5. Goalkeeper & defenders
Daniel Bachmann (GK) - 5/10 - Unlike many opposition keepers Brighton faced last season, Bachmann wasn't presented with a slew of missed chances, but rather left helpless in the face of clinical finishing.
Craig Cathcart (RB) - 4/10 - Laboured at right-back and was unsurprisingly the defender sacrificed as Xisco Munoz tried to overhaul a two-goal deficit.
William Troost-Ekong (CB) - 4/10 - Guilty of a weak and perilous hospital pass in the build up to Brighton's second goal.
Christian Kabasele (CB) - 5/10 - Bypassed almost entirely by Brighton's rotating blend of forwards.
Adam Masina (LB) - 4/10 - Overrun down his flank with as many as three Brighton players floating in his zone at times.
Tom Cleverley (CM) - 4/10 - For a player with as much Premier League experience as the former Manchester United midfielder, Cleverley looked disappointingly off the pace, particularly in the first half.
Peter Etebo (CM) - 4/10 - Dropping slightly behind his other midfielders, Etebo was left drowning as Brighton overloaded the centre.
Imran Louza (CM) - 2/10 - On a debut to forget, Louza was so infrequently involved he was, almost mercifully, hooked off at half-time.
Ismaila Sarr (RW) - 4/10 - A marked man from the off, Sarr was starved of the ball and crowded out when he did receive it.
Emmanuel Dennis (ST) - 5/10 - Painfully isolated from the rest of his teammates throughout the first half, the former Champions League goalscorer could only get the ball in the back of the net from an offside position.
Ken Sema (LW) - 5/10 - Left Masina all too exposed behind him but improved in a more central position after the break.
Cucho Hernandez (LW) - 6/10 - Buzzing around the final third, his arrival coincided with Watford's uptick without being the sole cause of their improvement.
Josh King (ST) - 5/10
Troy Deeney (ST) - N/A
Source : 90min