Roberto De Zerbi makes seven changes to Brighton side for UEFA Europa League opener against AEK Athens

European football has descended on the English South Coast, with a new chapter of Brighton’s fairytale story set to be written on Thursday evening. The Seagulls will host AEK Athens – the winners of the last Greek Super League season.

Roberto De Zerbi’s Brighton have enjoyed an overwhelmingly positive start to the new Premier League season, losing just one of their opening five games. Most recently, an inspired performance saw the club clinch three points at Old Trafford against a dismal Manchester United.

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The Italian has made seven changes to his starting eleven for Thursday’s clash against AEK Athens. Jason Steele retains his place between the sticks, with a front four of Pervis Estupiñán, Igor, Jan Paul van Hecke and James Milner in front of him. That means Tariq Lamptey, Lewis Dunk and Joel Veltman drop to the bench.

Billy Gilmour slots into the side at Mo Dahoud’s expense, pairing Pascal Groß at the base of the Brighton midfield.

Kaoru Mitoma is the only attacking player to remain in the Seagulls’ starting lineup from Saturday’s clash – with Adam Lallana, Simon Adingra and Danny Welbeck all dropping to the bench. That creates room for Solly March and João Pedro, with Barça loanee Ansu Fati also coming into the side.

BHA: Steele; Estupiñán, Igor, van Hecke, Milner; Gilmour, Groß; Mitoma, March, Fati; Pedro

AEK: Stankovic; Hajsafi, Szymański, Mitoglou, Sidibe; Jønsson; Amrabat, Gacinovic, Pineda; García, Araújo