|OPPONENTS||Brighton & Hove Albion|
|DATE||Thursday 26th December 2019|
No preview produced.
|PREDICTION||Tottenham Hotspur 3 Brighton & Hove Albion 1|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
BRIGHTON & HOVE
ALBION TEAM NEWS :
|Premier League||Kick off 12.30|
|Tottenham Hotspur 2 (0)||
Brighton & Hove Albion
Kane 52m 26s
Webster 36m 35s
Winks (foul on Schelotto) 36
Sanchez (foul on Connolly) 39
Moura (foul on Groß) 74
Sissoko (shoving Burn) 84
Burn (foul on Lucas) 30
Groß (foul on Kane) 42
|Crowd : 56,308||Weather : Raining on and off through game; mild|
|Referee : Graham Scott (Oxfordshire)||Assistant Referees : Mr. Neil Davies; Mr. Mark Scholes|
|Fourth Official : Tim Robinson|
|Video Assistant Referee : Mike Dean||Video Assistant Referee Assistant : Constantine Hatzidakis|
|Spurs kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.|
|Game time : - 90 + 5 minutes.|
|Tottenham Hotspur :||kit||Brighton & Hove Albion :||kit|
Christian ERIKSEN 68)
10 Harry KANE (c)
Ezequiel SCHELOTTO (
|Manager : Jose Mourinho||Manager : Graham POTTER|
|Sponsor : AIA||Shirt sponsor : American Express|
|Kit Supplier : Nike||Kit Supplier : Nike|
It was an archetypal game of two halves against Brighton at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium, with Spurs having a slow Boxing Day start before picking up the pace in the second half to go on to a 2-1 win.
It was an early start as Network Rail decided to run no trains on Boxing Day, so we had to pick up the coach at 08.45. There was a bit of confusion about which coach was going where, but in the end we were on the direct to N17 coach. We then didn't have to pick people up on the way, but the rain and the lack of traffic at that time of the morning meant the coach dumped us behind the North Mid hospital at 09.40 ! We were grateful not to be late for the kick-off, but with just under three hours to kick off it was a bit too previous !
With no shops open for sale shopping (not that you would be able to take it into the stadium, although I did toy with the as a task of trying to smuggle 2 pomelos for 3 pounds in if I didn't put them in a bag), it was just left to walk around the areas that we don't normally cover on our normal walk to the ground. It was surprising how much has changed down towards Seven Sisters, not having gone that way for the best part of seven and a half years since the riots. Walk over, it was into the ground, which contained a large ratio of downcast Korean fans, who had booked their tickets hoping to see Heung-Min Son, only for him to be suspended for getting sent off against Chelsea. Many regulars hadn't made it with transport issues and the early kick-off, so those fans who so want to be at a game where here.
With rain drizzling down, Spurs kicked off and Jan Vertonghen pout the ball out of play, trying to get Ryan Sessegnon into the game early on, but Jan was soon back in his own area, kicking away a cross from Webster from the Brighton right wing. He was also there when Bernardo put in a cross to head it away, but only as far as Alzate, who should have done better than dragging his shot wide.
The atmosphere was a little subdued, but there was excitement when Kane went wide right and his low ball across the box picked out Sessegnon sliding in at the far post, but he couldn't force the ball past Schelotto. The ball to Sessegnon worked, as Toby Alderweireld played a pinpoint pass and the former Fulham winger struck it against the post, but the offside flag had already gone up.
Paulo Gazzaniga made the first save of the game with 12 minutes gone, as Alzate tried his luck again, this time from 20 yards and the Spurs keeper did well to push it away from the goal as he dived to his left. Spurs created a good move with Dele getting into the box before Winks returned the ball with a lifted pass over the defence, but the giant frame of Webster proved difficult to get around. Our passing was not good again and too often passes were under-hit or too far away from their intended recipients, allowing Brighton to break up play too easily. Mooy shot just wide from outside the box, with his drive taking a deflection off Sanchez for a corner, but Harry Kane was there to head away the ball when it came in. Harry was then involved at the other end as Harry Winks played a fine through pass over the Brighton defence, who were trying to hold a high line, allowing Harry to go through and get to the ball ahead of the advancing Mat Ryan. His touch was sure and found the net and everyone went back to line up for the kick off, except VAR pulled it back for an "armpit offside" as they are now known. VAR really needs to be quicker or interpret these as not "clear and obvious", as it is destroying the flow of the game if everyone is ready for the restart and then has to go back for a free-kick.
Dan Burn put in a cynical tackle on Lucas Moura, as the Spurs man looked to get away from him, earning the Seagulls' left back a booking. The award of a free-kick came to nothing, as Kane piled his shot into the wall. A Brighton free-kick was headed down into the goalmouth by Bernardo, but Serge Aurier was there to clear the ball, with Lucas running at the Brighton defence as we attacked and Duffy getting nothing more than a foul awarded against him for sticking his studs into the back of the Brazilians calf. Vertonghen took this one, delicately crossing it from right to left, where Sissoko was on the end of it, but he shovelled his shot up in the air and Ryan took it easily, with the linesman flagging for offside anyway. Brighton then broke up their right with Schelotto, whose run was ended by a slide in by Winks that was judged to be a foul, but looked like a blatant dive by the Brighton right back. The referee bought it and gave Winksy a yellow card, in addition to a free-kick that was put into the box by Groß. It picked out one of the giant Brighton defenders and Webster headed powerfully past a static Gazzaniga, having had a free run at the ball.
Going a goal down minutes after being denied a goal was not the best way to start Boxing Day, but then we are highly unlikely to keep a clean sheet these days, so it was all down to how the team would react.
Davinson Sanchez was booked for a sliding tackle on Connolly, giving Brighton another free-kick on the right side of our penalty area. Dele headed that away for a corner and from it Bernardo got a free header that was on target, but thankfully, into Paulo's arms as he fell to his right. Groß was the first of three Brighton players to try and haul Kane down as he ran forward through the middle of the pitch, getting a yellow card for his troubles. Spurs were pushing forward at the half-time whistle, leaving the pitch to the boos, no doubt of some of those casual supporters who feel that because they have deigned to turn up that Spurs should roll over the opposition.
It was notable that the substitutes didn't come out to warm up during their break and not a surprise that the same eleven came out to face the kick off in the second half. However, there was a new energy to their play and Dele won a corner in the first minute. Davinson got on the end of it, but there was nothing coming from it and when Brighton moved to the other end of the pitch, Connolly should have done better with Mooy's cross from the left, but at the near post, he connected with his shoulder not his head, sending the ball high and wide.
Spurs hadn't really got through the Brighton defence to make Ryan work too much, but with 52 minutes on the clock, Lucas set off on a run past four players from the middle to left across the pitch 25 yards out to the edge of the box. The ball got away from him as he ran into the valley of the giants, but Webster couldn't get the message from his brain to his feet in time to clear the ball and could only play it against Stephens and it into the Brighton box for Kane in space. He took a step and drove a fierce left foot shot at goal that Ryan did well to keep out, but he could only knock it back towards Kane, who recovered to hit a falling shot with his right back between the keeper and the post to level the score. It was a very well taken effort, having to react so quickly, but while Harry had been putting in a huge amount of effort, chances for him had been few and far between.
Groß tried to restore the visitors' lead with a shot from the edge of the box, but concentrating on power, his accuracy was way off as it flew into the South Stand. Mourinho brought on Lo Celso for Sessegnon, as he looked to open things up a bit, with a chance almost falling for Kane as Sissoko charged down a clearance, but the ball went through to Ryan. When Kane got the ball on the right, Burn clearly got his hand in Harry's face, but the referee neither gave a free-kick nor stopped the game for a head injury. There was a certain lack of decisiveness in his work today and Winks rashly flew into a tackle on Groß on the edge of the Spurs area, it looked as though it might be a second yellow going by what the ref had booked people for previously. Groß took the free-kick and found a way through the wall, but Gazzaniga produced a very good save, punching it away.
As Brighton brought on Maupay for Connolly, Jose took off Winks, who would be suspended for the Norwich match on Saturday anyway before he got sent off and brought on Christian Eriksen. The Dane was instrumental in the second Spurs goal in the 72nd minute. He drilled a pass wide to Lucas on the left wing, who took the ball inside to find Kane just inside the box. Harry had his back to goal and played it out to Christian placed centrally 25 yards out. He produced a delightful diagonal ball to his right to find Aurier running in behind Bernardo and he touched the bal back to Dele, who first time swept the ball up and over Ryan from a tight angle to the right of the goal. There wasn't much room to get his shot into the opposite top corner of the net, but it was delicately scooped over the Australian goalie to put Tottenham ahead. It was a classy piece of finishing and while the stats showed Dele was all over the pitch with chasing and tackles, his passing had been poor of much of the 90 minutes. But when he scores goals like that he is worth having in the team for that alone.
Having set some of the tempo for the second half performance, Lucas was booked for fouling Groß before Eric Dier was brought on to shore up the midfield, while Potter changed Bernardo for Trossard, as he looked to try and recover something from the match. However, his side were reduced to fouling Kane as he ploughed forward holding off challenges before being brought to the ground.
Groß was the main Brighton player looking to pull them back into the game, trying a shot from outside the area, which Gazzaniga looked like he might let slip through his hands, but got enough behind it to grab it above his head at the second go in a worrying moment for Spurs fans. The bad tempered undercurrent to a lot of the fouling that had been going on erupted with six minutes to go. Moussa Sissoko was pushed by Burn (and possibly contacted by a raised elbow as they ran alongside each other) as he knocked the ball away. This led to a set-to of shoving which VAR reviewed for a possible red card (!), but ended with only Sissoko getting booked where normally both would receive the same punishment, except Burn had already been cautioned.
Dier picked up the ball in midfield and fizzed it into Kane, who switched it to his left and found Dele. The ball was a little behind him, so he nudged it in front of him with a back heel lat his side and struck a first time shot with his left foot that Ryan did well to push over the bar. Giovani Lo Celso looked lively when he came on and his holding of the ball and passes were looking to pin Brighton back in their own box and when he played Sissoko into the box on the right, his pull back to Eriksen brought a sliding tackle to prevent Christian scoring.
Our very good form on Boxing Day continued, without a loss since 2003, continues, but it wasn't without it's negatives. The first half was as pedestrian as we had played against Chelsea, but the turnaround with the same players in the second period must have been prompted by Mourinho's half-time instructions. Spurs always look better when they zip the ball around and the slow build-up rarely works, as teams can get plenty of shirts back behind the ball. Two fantastic finishes and some hard miles run earned Spurs this win, but Brighton seemed to sit back a bit after half-time, which allowed Spurs onto them.
While the coach had been expedient at delivering us to Tottenham, getting home was another kettle of fish. Taking ages to get out of the coach park was frustrating and it was nearly two hours after kick off that we got onto the North Circular Road, although after that the journey home was pretty quick and we arrived home at about . It was a long day, but worth it in the end with three points as a bonus Christmas present and with other results going our way (Chelsea losing to Southampton just showed how teams raise their performance against us), it leaves us fifth three points behind fourth place. It will take a good run between now and the end of the season to push up into the Champions League places, but with a couple of additions in January, it could be possible.
Harry Kane scores the 100th home goal of his career (90 for Spurs, 5 for Millwall, 3 for Leyton Orient and two for Leicester City).
Vertonghen's 300th Spurs appearance.
|Match ball sponsors||-|
|Match programme sponsors||-|
|Match shirt sponsors||-|
|How the players did|
|Paulo Gazzaniga||Little to do but did it well. Slipped the ball through his hands for a moment, towards the end, but no chance with the goal and made a good stop from Groß' free-kick.|
|Serge Aurier||Did OK and looked to get forward to good effect in providing Dele with an assist for his goal.|
|Toby Alderweireld||Solid enough, but perhaps could have put a challenge in on Webster when we conceded.|
|Davinson Sanchez||Another fine performance, using his pace and strength to keep Brighton at bay.|
|Jan Vertonghen||Did well defensively and found himself over free-kicks at the other end.|
|Harry Winks||Mixed performance with some good closing and tackles, with some histrionics to the officials. Unfairly booked, but lucky to escape a second yellow.|
|Moussa Sissoko||Another display where he covered a lot of ground and looked to keep running forward.|
|Ryan Sessegnon||Looked to make good runs, but Spurs didn't really use his pace against Schelotto. May get more playing time over Christmas and New Year with Son's suspension.|
|Lucas Moura||Catalyst to the Spurs second half revival that saw him involved in both goals.|
|Dele Alli||Finishing as well as he did does not come easy. A performance full of running and one moment of magic. Unlucky with a late shot that brought a fins save from Ryan.|
|Harry Kane||An unselfish effort by Harry in running and holding the ball. Showed what a master goal-scorer he is by finishing well at the second attempt to equalise. Another Boxing Day goal for one of our own !|
|Eric Dier||Did well in breaking up play to stop Brighton progressing and passed the ball well.|
|Christian Eriksen||His passing was very good today and his ball to Aurier for Dele's goal was sublime. On this sort of display, we are going to miss him.|
|Giovani Lo Celso||Played with urgency and looked more comfortable than previously in the team. Might get a start over the next week with injuries and suspensions.|
|What you thought|
|Other scores during this week :|
|Aston Villa||1||Norwich City||1||Thursday|
|Crystal Palace||2||West Ham United London||1||Thursday|
|Manchester United||4||Newcastle United||1||Thursday|
|Wolverhampton Wanderers||3||Manchester City||2||Friday|
|League Table 2019-20|
|4||Frank Lampard's Chelsea||19||10||2||8||33||27||32||+6|
|13||Brighton & Hove Albion||19||5||5||9||22||28||20||-6|
|17||West Ham United London||18||5||4||9||20||30||19||-10|
Position before match : 7th
Position after match : 5th
Position after the weekend : 6th
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