OPPONENTS Brighton & Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium
COMPETITION Premier League 
DATE Saturday 5th October 2019
PREVIEW After the media annihilation of Tottenham following their defeat by Bayern Munich, what should we expect from Mauricio Pochettino's men ?  We should expect some reaction to the way they were taken apart by the German side, with a substantial change in personnel, I should imagine.

Brighton have struggled so far this season under new manager Graham Potter, who is having his first season in the top flight.  I don't have anything against Brighton, other than the shameful way they got rid of Chris Hughton and being one of our own, I hope we turn them over and pile some more worries on their heads.  Since their opening day 3-0 win over Watford at Vicarage Road (not so impressive seeing as how Watford have fared in recent weeks), three draws (West Ham, Burnley and Newcastle) are all the Seagulls have to show for their efforts.  a 0-2 reverse against South Coast rivals Southampton didn't go down well, but 0-4 against Man City is about as good as most teams can expect.

It is not for the lack of decent players, but injuries have deprived them of a number of players since the start of the season.  Yves Bissouma's absence has left a hole in their midfield, as he works hard to close down opponents and now Shane Duffy is out from the middle of the defence, Lewis Dunk has had to form a partnership with former Bristol City centre-half Adam Webster.  Maybe Dunk's three yellow cards indicate that he is trying to cover too much in the heart of their back four.  Missing Barnardo and Martin Montoya in the full back positions, along with long term knee injury victim Ezequiel Schelotto has meant some shuffling in the back line. 

Signing Neal Maupay from Brentford to replace Anthnony Knockaert, who has been loaned out to Fulham, was supposed to be a like-for-like replacement, but he has also missed time with injury, but may be back for Tottenham's  visit to East Sussex.  Solly March will also be back after injury and will add some creativity to the midfield missing Davy Propper and Leonardo Trossard.  The workmanlike nature of their existing midfielders is balanced by the hard-working, but attack minded Aaron Mooy, on loan from Huddersfield Town.

Up top the signing of Florin Andone in May 2018 has been a bit of a nightmare, with three league games played, with one goal and one red card, so he has been sent to Galatasaray for a season long loan to ply his fiery trade there.  It leaves Brighton short in attacking options, with Glenn Murray, Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Maupay and youngster Aaron Connolly to choose from as Izquierdo isn't back from being sidelined yet. Murray defies his age to keep kncking goal sin, but Jahanbakhsh hasn't worked out the way Brighton hoped as yet and having to throw Connolly in has proved a boon to the manager, as he has taken to the Premier League straight away.

Winning both games by single goals last season will need to be bettered if the criticism of Spurs and Pochettino is to be given a rest.  It will need the team to realise that they have to fight for the right to play their game and the first 50 minutes against Bayern was the type of football they need to produce consistently and throughout a 90 minutes.   Poch has a difficult job in picking a side of this game, but with Aurier out banned for two yellows last week, it will be a straight choice between Walker-Peters and Foyth as to how replaces him.  We can't afford more experiments with non-right-backs playing there, although he has hinted he may start Sissoko there and therefore opponents might target that area of our defence.  And with all the central defenders suffering degrees of a lack of confidence, Poch may choose three and play the system that served us well last season.

Another defeat might leave the media and ex-player pundits telling Spurs what needs to be done, but Poch says he wants to stay for five more years at least and with the current injuries, it has made things difficult in not being able to play the team and the way he wants, but there are signs that Ndombele is settling and the existing players are coming back into consideration, so hopefully, it won't be long before things fall into place again ... with a fair degree of hard work to help it do so.

PREDICTION Brighton & Hove Albion    1        Tottenham Hotspur    2
Serge Aurier is suspended following his sending off last week against Southampton and Ryan Sessegnon (hamstring) and Giovani Lo Celso (hip) are still unable to be selected.

Brighton are including the returning Solly March, Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Leon Balogun into their squad for the visit of Spurs, but Davy Propper (hamstring) is a doubt and Shane Duffy (calf) is definitely out along with Bernardo (knee) and Leandro Trossard (groin).


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TalkSport (DAB or 1089 MW)

Premier League Kick off 12:30
Brighton & Hove Albion  3 (2)  
Tottenham Hotspur  0 (0)

Maupay  02m 26s
Connolly  31m 36s
Connolly  64m 08s



Crowd :   30,610 Weather :  Mild, dry
Referee : Jon Moss  (Leeds) Assistant Referees :   Mr. Marc Perry; Mr. Simon Bennett
Fourth Official :  Robert Jones  
VAR Official :  Jarred Gillett VAR Assistant :  Andy Halliday
Brighton kicked off and played towards the South Stand end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 10 minutes.
Stephens (stopping a free-kick being taken)  57
Dunk (foul on Kane)  89 


Dier (off the ball incident with Connolly)  55


Brighton & Hove Albion : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
  1  Mat RYAN

22  Martin MONTOYA
  Lewis DUNK  (c)     
33  Dan BURN

13  Pascal GROß
  Dale STEPHENS       (17  Glenn MURRAY  90)
  Steven ALZATE  (  3  Gaetan BONG  88)
  Aaron MOOY

  Neal MAUPAY 
44  Aaron CONNOLLY       (  8  Yves BISSOUMA  80)

Unused subs: 
27  David BUTTON
20  Solly MARCH

    1  Hugo LLORIS  (c)  (22  Paulo GAZZANIGA  8)

17  Moussa SISSOKO
33  Ben DAVIES

15  Eric DIER     
28  Tanguy NDOMBELE  (  8  Harry WINKS  46)

23  Christian ERIKSEN

  7  Heung-Min SON  (27  Lucas MOURA  73)
1  Erik LAMELA

10  Harry KANE

Unused subs: 
21  Juan FOYTH
  6  Davinson SANCHEZ
20  DELE Alli 
  Oliver SKIPP


Manager :  Graham Potter Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino
Sponsor :   American Express Shirt sponsor :  AIA
Kit Supplier :  Nike Kit Supplier :   Nike
Match report

With the media predicting impending doom for Spurs, a win at Brighton was needed to quell the criticism that was being aimed at the club.  What they got was a whole heap more issues none more so than the 0-3 score-line that was brought about by another cheap goal and a nasty injury to our first choice keeper.

Pochettino played a 4-2-1-2-1 formation again, with the idea being a diamond in the midfield and the introduction of Eric Dier as the player in front of the back four was an interesting move, with Harry Winks dropped to the bench. With Kane, Son and Eriksen at the top end of the pitch, it looked like a side who could break on Brighton quickly. Moussa Sissoko had to fill in at right back with injuries and suspensions robbing Tottenham of all their available players who would normally take that position. Brighton started with a back four for the first time and his midfield diamond went to a flatter four.

A third minute left wing cross from Groß looked harmless enough, but instead of catching the ball, Hugo dropped it right on the line and Maupay headed it in from no distance and as he fell back over the line, he appear to land with his weight on his hand, causing his elbow to be dislocated with oxygen having to be administered to him. It was an odd decision by Lloris and the injury that followed that lead to him being carried off added more to Tottenham’s troubles. A goal down and with Gazzaniga coming on with eight minutes gone, everything was stacking up against us … again.

A free-kick for a foul on Connolly by Sissoko gave Brighton a set-piece that they pulled back to the far edge of the box, where Stephens hit a sweet volley. Jan Vertonghen got his head behind it, as it looked to be heading into the net, but it floored the Spurs defender, although he was able to get up and continue.

The game settled down after that and a lot of the play failed to reach the penalty boxes. Vertonghen picked up a massive black eye when Maupay turned straight into him on halfway to make the one Christian Eriksen gave him look tame. Ndombele was on hand to cut out a right wing ball low cut back into the box, as Groß looked to pick out a striped shirt, but Tottenham couldn’t clear the ball when the home team attacked, building pressure on their defensive third.

It took 25 minutes for Spurs to get a shot on goal, with Eriksen’s 25 yard drive straight at Ryan, who had to grab it at the second attempt. Lamela looked reluctant to take people on and getting back, he failed to chase with his usual vigour, which held Tottenham’s play up when in promising positions. Davies took a whack in the face and Brighton broke away putting Connolly away and the crowd asked for a penalty for a push by Sissoko, but nothing was given.

A cross in from the left by Burn found Connolly in the middle flicking the ball at goal from close range and Gazzaniga reacted well to save, but the Brighton youngster put the rebound in from close range to make it 2-0. He got across the near post well and was alive to the loose ball so Spurs
had a mountain to climb with just 32 minutes gone.

Groß had a shot deflected just wide by Ndombele to save Spurs, but the ball was getting taken off the Spurs players in midfield that allowed Brighton to get in on goal and Connolly missed the target when the ball was played back to him in the box. Too often touches around the box were not finding their targets and that caused possession to be lost too easily, especially when Spurs players were passing the ball in the hope of finding a team-mate, not the sureness of passing the typified the play over the last few seasons. Just before half-time, Son and Kane broke, with Lamela receiving the ball and shooting at goal, only to see Dunk kick it away in front of goal.

With Kane furthest forward, it was difficult to find an out ball, so it kept coming back with most of our players still behind the ball and too often they were second to the ball without commitment to win the ball and being too soft. That proved the case when Groß hit a long ball form right to left and Maupay drove the ball across goal coming off Alderweireld and it could have gone anywhere.   Luckily, it didn’t go in the Spurs goal ! Gazzaniga had to get behind Maupay’s 25-yard shot that was straight at him, as Tottenham looked like they couldn’t wait to get in at half-time.

With Pochettino’s new system, it looked as though there was insufficient protection for the back four and this allowed Brighton to run at them. The passive nature of or play did not bode well and with little movement making passes difficult to find, but Brighton were managing it, so it was a little surprising that Spurs couldn’t. The first half was shocking, so what would the second bring ?  Winks came on for Ndombele and Spurs started to move and move the ball better. They won a corner and started to look like they wanted to play together more as Poch moved to a three at the back with a more stable defensive midfield with Winks and Dier. Lamela and Sissoko moved forward and it looked like a pass for Son, but it ran through to Davies that ended in a corner. Another followed, but it only found Dunk. Eriksen’s passes looked under-hit as they got picked off and again, any forward Tottenham movement was broken down.

While the home crowd were wanting Dier to be sent off for an off the ball block on Connolly, Winks had to throw himself in front of Burn’s shot and then Sissoko nodded away a dangerous cross heading for Aaron Mooy. VAR decided it was a yellow card and I didn’t know that was what VAR was there for.

Tottenham were crossing the ball into the Brighton box, which was a bit of a waste of time, as Dunk, Burn and Webster are giants. Brighton won a corner when Connolly ran at Alderweireld and it was again played back to the edge of the box where Stephens hit a volley that this time went over the bar. They got closer when Mooy bought a free kick tight to the dead ball line and Groß whipped it in with the ball glancing off the face of the bar.

A long pass to Connolly on the left ran at Toby again and the Belgian made no effort to show him outside and his low shot bent past Paulo’s left hand to bury the ball in the bottom corner and make it 3-0 as Spurs looked clueless how to stop Brighton going forward.  A cleared corner dropped to Eriksen outside the d and he tried to place a side-footed volley which ended up in the crowd. When Sissoko went down the wing and beat Burn, he pulled the ball back from the line and Son had space but missed his kick and that chance had disappeared. Lamela broke and found Kane to his right. Harry cut inside and then blazed his shot over the bar.

Tottenham looked all over the place and only a brush of Alderweireld’s hair took the ball away from  an unmarked Maupay behind him, who was denied a free header on goal. With ten minutes to go, Spurs finally strung some possession passes together, working the ball across the pitch after Sissoko had taken it forward, but Lamela’s cute pass that put Lucas Moura in saw him breeze past a defender, but his shot was saved as Ryan came out to meet him.  Spurs players looked like they had had enough. Tired clearances and lack of effort getting back at Brighton players as they attacked left Groß with a clear shooting opportunity when Maupay played him in on the edge of the box. Lucas was still having a go and forced Ryan  o save well to his left with a low effort, but when Spurs players had the ball there were few options for them to lay it off and the crosses were still being played hopefully into the area.

We didn’t press the ball and looked annoyed when Brighton did it to us. There was little willingness to make runs off the ball and when playing the ball, they looked as though if the pass got to its target it was a bonus. It is hard to see where Pochettino can motivate a side who almost look as though they got to the Champions League final last season and now have decided that is as good as it gets. The players need to show more determination in games, as they can’t just turn up and win. We knew that sides would sit behind the ball and make it hard for Spurs, but we are  making it easy for them by failing to put in the commitment required. There is little urgency about our play and it is making playing against us a simpler affair for opponents.

The international break has come at the wrong time, as not only will it mean that Pochettino doesn’t have time on the training ground to put things right, but players will be away with their national teams and will be tapped up by team-mates during this time of uncertainty.  Losing 0-3 to Brighton isn’t the end of the world, but the way we lost is of more concern. This is where Poch earns his money and he has to make sure that the players do the same.

Ted Maul

Match facts


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What you thought
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Other scores during this week :
Burnley 1 Everton 0 Saturday
Norwich City 1 Aston Villa 5 Saturday
Liverpool 2 Leicester City 1 Saturday
Watford 0 Sheffield United 0 Saturday
West Ham United London 1 Crystal Palace 2 Saturday
Southampton 1 Chelsea 4 Sunday
Manchester City 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 Sunday
Arsenal 1 Bournemouth 0 Sunday
Newcastle United 1 Manchester United 0 Sunday


League Table  2019-20
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Liverpool 8 8 0 0 20 6 24 +14
2 Manchester City 8 5 1 2 27 9 16 +18
3 Woolwich Wanderers 8 4 3 1 13 11 15 +2
4 Leicester City 8 4 2 2 15 7 14 +8
5 Frank Lampard's Chelsea 8 4 2 2 18 14 14 +4
6 Crystal Palace 8 4 2 2 8 8 14 0
7 Burnley 8 3 3 2 11 9 12 +2
8 West Ham United London 8 3 3 2 11 11 12 0
9 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 8 3 2 3 14 12 11 +2
10 Bournemouth 8 3 2 3 13 13 11 0
11 Wolverhampton Wanderers 8 2 4 2 11 11 10 0
12 Manchester United 8 2 3 3 9 8 9 +1
13 Sheffield United 8 2 3 3 7 7 9 0
14 Brighton & Hove Albion 8 2 3 3 8 10 9 -2
15 Aston Villa 8 2 2 4 13 12 8 +1
16 Newcastle United 8 2 2 4 5 13 8 -8
17 Southampton 8 2 1 5 8 15 7 -7
18 Everton 8 2 1 5 6 13 7 -7
19 Norwich City 8 2 0 6 10 21 6 -11
20 Watford 8 0 3 5 4 20 3 -16

Position before match :  6th
Position after match :  6th
Position after the weekend :  9th


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